Skip to main content

Full text of "Narratives of remarkable criminal trials"

See other formats

rsity of California 






3 1822022145734 

Social Sciences & Humanities Ubrary 

University of California, San Diego 
P,ease Note: This item is subject to recall 

Date Due 

UCSD Lib. 

Cl 39 (5/97) 










London : Printed by WILLIAM CLOWES and SONS, Stamford Street. 


THE following trials are selected and abridged from a 
work consisting of 1300 closely-printed pages, by 
Anselm Ritter von Feuerbach, a man celebrated as a 
judge, a legislator, and a writer. He was for many 
years President of the highest criminal court of 
Bavaria, and the penal code of that country was 
chiefly framed by him ; his exposition of the criminal 
law is a text-book for the whole of Germany, where 
the present work, which was the last he wrote, excited 
great attention. 

For ten years Feuerbach was President of the Cen- 
tral Criminal Court of a province of Bavaria, contain- 
ing several towns, and inhabited by half a million of 
souls differing in faith. In the exercise of his judicial 
functions many remarkable cases were brought before 
him, and ample opportunity was afforded him, by the 
form of criminal procedure in Bavaria, for the exer- 
cise of his extraordinary power of penetrating the re- 
cesses of the human heart, and of divining the secret 
motives of human action. In Bavaria, on the disco- 
very of any crime, the Untersuchungs Richter (exa- 
mining judge) and Feuerbach himself once filled that 


office, which, in fact, combines the duties of public 
prosecutor with that of judge instantly sets about 
collecting evidence. Those against whom he finds any 
reasonable grounds of suspicion are at once appre- 
hended, and kept in prison until their guilt or inno- 
cence be proved. The judge meanwhile endeavours 
to trace back the prisoner's life to his very cradle, 
to make himself thoroughly acquainted with his cha- 
racter and disposition, in order thence to infer whether 
he be or be not a man likely to have committed the 
crime imputed to him. To this end witnesses are 

Children under eight years of age, persons di- 
rectly interested in the result of the trial, or who 
have been convicted or even strongly suspected of 
perjury, falsehood, or suppression of evidence, are 
incompetent witnesses. Suspicious witnesses are per- 
sons under the age of eighteen, accomplices, the 
injured party, informers, except such as are officially 
bound to inform, persons of doubtful character, and 
persons in any way connected with or hostile to the 
party affected by their testimony. 

The evidence of two sufficient witnesses (those 
against whom none of the above-mentioned objections 
can be raised), as to facts which they have seen with 
their own eyes, is taken as proof; that of one sufficient 
witness as half proof. 

The testimony of two suspicious witnesses, if agree- 
ing, is equal to that of one sufficient witness. 


Circumstantial evidence amounts to proof when all 
the circumstances are fully proved by witnesses, and 
cannot be reasonably accounted for except on the 
supposition of the prisoner's guilt ; but while any 
other explanation is possible the evidence is deemed 
imperfect ; and even when circumstantial evidence is 
complete, the conviction of the prisoner, in cases of 
capital offence, is not followed by sentence of death, 
unless Jie confess his crime. 

By far the most important evidence is that given 
by the prisoner himself; he is questioned by the 
examining judge, in the presence only of a notary 
employed to take down his replies. The judge begins 
by exhorting him to tell the truth, hinting that a full 
confession may soften his punishment. He then asks 
him whether he knows why he has been arrested ; 
and if the prisoner affects ignorance or gives a false 
reason, he is again admonished. Should he persist in 
his assertions the judge closes the examination for that 
day. At the next examination he reminds the pri- 
soner of the duty of truth and of the danger of per- 
sisting in falsehood, and then begins a series of ques- 
tions calculated to entrap him into admissions incon- 
sistent with innocence. If on the other hand the pri- 
soner states the true cause of his arrest, he is called 
upon to tell all he knows of the matter. His state- 
ment is written down, and the judge afterwards ques- 
tions him upon every circumstance of his story, im- 
portant or trifling, taking care that he shall not, if it 


can be avoided, perceive which questions are impor- 
tant, and that no time be allowed him to consider his 
replies. During the inquiry the prisoner is kept in 
ignorance of the charge against him, and any en- 
deavour on his part to gain information on the subject 
is an offence in law. He is not allowed to see a copy 
of his own evidence or of that of the witnesses. But 
when the judge has failed to obtain a confession the 
prisoner is unexpectedly confronted with one or more 
of the witnesses against him, or with an accomplice, 
if there be one, in the hopes of surprising him into a 
confession. Should the prisoner refuse to answer, he 
is put on a diet of bread and water. In cases of mur- 
der, the accused is led to the spot where the crime 
was committed, and the bleeding corpse, or, it may be, 
the mouldering remains are suddenly shown to him. 
Feuerbach remarks that in cases of infanticide this 
expedient has never been known to fail ; but it is ma- 
nifest that such terrors can have little or no effect on 
hardened and resolute criminals. A confession must 
be formally made before the examining judge, and 
that not during the first examination ; a confession 
made then cannot be followed by conviction ; and a 
confession made before two sufficient witnesses in the 
absence of the judge is only half proof, and requires 
to be confirmed by other evidence. 

But even when a confession has been extorted it 
affords no proof of the That bestand, the corpus de- 
licti, or fact that the crime has been committed : it 


is evidence that the prisoner committed the actions 
which he describes, but it does not prove what were 
the results of those actions. The That bestand must 
be proved beyond all reasonable doubt, and in cases 
of murder it must be shown that the injuries inflicted 
were undoubtedly mortal. 

It is the duty of the examining judge to collect evi- 
dence for the prisoner as carefully as against him ; 
but when he has got together all that he can find, the 
prisoner is furnished with a legal defender, who is 
allowed to confer with him in private, having first 
sworn to undertake no unrighteous defence. This ad- 
vocate makes a minute of his objections to the course 
of procedure, and composes a written defence, which is 
sent by the examining judge, together with a full report 
of all the proceedings, to the central criminal court of 
the district. This court decides by majority upon the 
guilt of the accused, the nature of his crime, and the 
punishment to be inflicted ; when the punishment is 
death, or imprisonment exceeding twenty years, the 
sentence is sent for revision to the high court of ap- 
peal, and in other cases the prisoner may appeal, if he 
desires it. When the appellate court has given its 
decision, the prisoner, if the sentence be reversed, is 
instantly set free ; if confirmed, it is executed within 
twenty-four hours. 

If, in cases of capital crime, proof fails from mere 
technical insufficiency, the prisoner escapes the punish- 
ment of death ; but imprisonment of greater or less 
duration and severity is inflicted. 


The Bavarian system of inquiry and of appeals occa- 
sionally prolongs a trial over a space of several years. 
In one case described in this work, that of Riembauer, 
the reports filled forty-two folio volumes, and the trial 
lasted five years, whereas in England it would have 
been concluded in as many days. The reader, who 
may be inclined altogether to condemn this German 
prolixity and deliberation, should remember that in 
the year 1827 no fewer than six persons, who had 
been convicted of capital crimes at the Old Bailey, and 
left for execution, were proved to be innocent, and 
saved by the zeal and activity of the sheriff.* In the 
last century the Bavarian criminal procedure was any- 
thing but slow. Torture was not abolished until 1806, 
a reform chiefly owing to the humane exertions of 
Feuerbach, and extremely distasteful to the judges of 
the old school, who could not forgive him for having 
put an end to so simple, expeditious, and easy a mode 
of obtaining evidence. " What," said they, " could 
be the use of making so many difficulties about hang- 
ing a pack of criminals?" The time lost by the abo- 
lition of torture was at first regained by a total dis- 
regard of the very slight means of defence afforded to 
the accused by the Codex Juris Bavarici Criminalis de 
anno 1751 . The doctrine that the sooner criminal cases 
were disposed of, the better, was acted upon until the 
16th of May, 1813, when the criminal code, composed 
by Feuerbach for the kingdom of Bavaria, received 
the royal assent. This code was adopted by the 
* ' Criminal Law Report,' vol. viii. 


duchy of Oldenburg, and forms the basis of new 
criminal codes for Weimar, Wurtemburg, and other 
German states. 

The defects of the mode of procedure used in the 
following trials are of a kind which cannot fail to 
strike every English reader its advantages are far 
more likely to escape his notice. The minute and 
searching investigation into the secret motives and 
inmost feelings, as well as the external actions of the 
criminal, must give to a Bavarian trial an interest 
which would be sought in vain in our own courts of law. 

Perhaps nothing in the following trials will appear 
more surprising to English readers than that the cri- 
minals should almost always confess their crimes in 
the most circumstantial manner. Feuerbach was 
himself so much struck by this circumstance, that he 
has devoted a chapter of the book from which the 
following trials have been selected, to an examination 
of the subject. A few, he says, very few, confess from 
remorse, some from inability to evade the searching 
interrogatories of the judge, some from indifference to 
their fate, others from a desire to put an end to a 
state of anxiety and suspense ; but by far the greater 
number from dislike to the strict discipline and com- 
pulsory silence of a Bavarian prison. One criminal, 
after three days' imprisonment, confessed, saying, "That 
he could no longer hold his tongue ; that he had been 
accustomed to social pleasures, and would rather tell 
all than be condemned to perpetual silence." 


Those among my readers who are interested in the 
comparison of the criminal procedure of Bavaria with 
that of England, will find the information which I 
want both space and ability to offer, in the ' Law 
Magazine,' vol. ix., p. 277 ; the * Foreign Quarterly 
Review,' vol. viii. p. 267 ; and the * Edinburgh Re- 
view,' vol. Ixxxii., p. 318. 

I have selected those trials which appear to me to 
possess the greatest general interest, and, in obedience 
to the suggestions contained in a most interesting 
article in the last-named journal, I have abridged 
them to little more than half their original length. 
I hope that I have nevertheless succeeded in preserv- 
ing the main outline of every trial, filled up with 
just so much of detail as will serve to give a tole- 
rably faithful picture of crimes common to all nations, 
treated in a manner very widely differing from our 

L. D. G. 

December, 1845. 



JOHN PAUL FORSTEE ; or, the Twofold Murder ... 1 

THE ANTONINI FAMILY; or, the Murder on a Journey . . 49 

FRANCIS RIEMBAUER, the Tartuffe of Real Life ... 69 

THE UNKNOWN MURDERER; or, the Police at Fault . . 112 

ANNA MARIA ZWANZIGER, the German Brinvilliers . . 142 

JAMES THALREUTER; or, the False Prince .... 180 

THE KLEINSCHROT FAMILY; or, the Parricides of the Black 

Mill 203 

JOHN GEORGE SORGEL, the Idiot Murderer .... 233 

GEORGE WACHS ; or, the Sudden Temptation .... 251 

GEORGE RAUSCHMAIER ; or, the Telltale Ring ... 282 

ANDREW BICHEL, the Woman-Murderer 296 

JOHN HOLZINGER ; or, Manslaughter, Murder, and Suicide, from 

Love and Jealousy ........ 313 

CASPAR FRISCH, the Murderer from Vanity .... 335 

LUDWIG STEINER, the Murderer from Revenge ... 346 




CHRISTOPHER BAUMLER, a worthy citizen of Niirnberg, 
lived in the Konigsstrasse, a wide and much-frequented 
street, where he carried on the trade of a corn-chandler, 
which there includes the right of selling brandy. He 
had lately lost his wife, and lived quite alone with 
only one maid-servant, Anna Catherina Schiitz. He 
had the reputation of being rich. 

B'aumler was in the habit of opening his shop at 
five o'clock in the morning at latest. But on the 21st 
of September, 1820, to the surprise of his neighbours 
it remained closed till past six. Curiosity and alarm 
drew together a number of people before the house. 
They rang repeatedly, but no one came to the door. 
At last some neighbours, with the sanction of the 
police, entered the first-floor windows by a ladder. 
Here they found drawers, chests, and closets burst 
open, and presenting every appearance of a robbery 
having been committed. They hastened down stairs 


into the shop, where they discovered in a corner close 
to the street-door the bloody corpse of the maid ; and 
in the parlour they found Baumler lying dead beside 
the stove. 

The house stands on the left hand in going along 
the Konigsstrasse from the Frauen Thor, not far from 
the church of Saint Laurence. Several houses, chiefly 
inns and shops, flank it on either side ; on the right 
an inn called the Golden Lion stands out several feet 
beyond it. 

Close to this projecting wall is the door of Baum- 
ler's house, which is entered by one low step ; the 
hall serves as a shop, and the walls are lined with 
shelves, chests, &c. The length of this hall from the 
street-door to the opposite end, where a door opens 
into a court, is about sixteen feet ; on the left a stair- 
case leads to the floor above. The breadth is unequal, 
for on the right hand near the door there is a corner 
about four feet wide and three feet deep, which forms 
part of the shop. On one side is the wall of Baum- 
ler's parlour ; on the other, the main wall of the 
house towards the street, where a large bow-window, 
always closed with heavy shutters at night, admits 
the light into the shop, and thence into the parlour 
through a window opening into this corner. About 
seven feet from the entrance to the shop is the door 
of the small parlour, which is cut off from the street 
on all sides, and furnished with tables and benches for 
the convenience of the customers for brandy. 

The house-door, as is usually the case in shops of 
this kind in Nurnberg, is formed of two wings joined 
together, one of which folds back upon the other, and is 
fastened by a simple contrivance to the wall. During 


the day a glass door is fixed in the half of the door- 
way thus left open, which in the daytime serves to 
light the shop, and in the evening to show passers 
by that the host is ready to receive customers. The 
door of Baumler's shop, behind the wing of which 
a man could perfectly conceal himself from any one 
entering, opens towards the left, exactly opposite to 
the corner we have already described, so that any one 
coming in would turn his face towards the corner ; 
and in the event of being attacked by a person hidden 
behind the door, would naturally run towards it. A 
bell hangs over the entrance, which rings whenever 
either the glass or the wooden door* is opened. 

As soon as the police were informed of the murder, 
a commission was appointed to visit Baumler's house. 
Immediately on entering the shop, to the right of the 
door in the corner, between two bins of meal and 
salt, the maid-servant Schiitz lay on her back, with 
her head shattered, and her feet, from which both 
her shoes had fallen, turned towards the door. Her 
face and clothes, and the floor, were covered with 
blood ; and the two bins, between which her head lay, 
as well as the wall, were sprinkled with it. As no 
other part of the shop showed any marks of blood, 
it was evident that she had been murdered in this 
corner. Not far from the body they picked up a 
small comb, and at a little distance from that a larger 
one, with several fragments of a second small one. 
In the very farthest corner of the parlour, between the 
stove and a small table, upon which stood a jug, 

1 Without this dry description it would be almost impossible to 
understand the manner in which this complicated murder was 



they found the body of Bitumler stretched on his back, 
with his head, which was resting on a small over- 
turned stool, covered with wounds and blood. A 
pipe and several small coins lay under the body, 
where they had probably fallen when the murderer 
ransacked the pocket, which was turned inside out 
and stained with blood, for money or for keys. The 
floor, the stove, and the wall were covered with blood, 
the stool was saturated, and even the vaulted ceiling, 
which was nine or ten feet high, was sprinkled with 
it. These circumstances, especially the stool on which 
Baumler's head still rested, and the pipe which lay 
under his body, showed that the murderer must have 
suddenly attacked him unawares and felled him to 
the earth, as he sat drinking his beer and smoking his 
pipe on that very spot. 

One drawer of the commode in the upper chamber 
was pulled out, the doors of two cupboards in the 
adjoining room were open, and every thing lay 
scattered about the floor. Several other presses, 
however, had not been opened, and many things of 
value, such as clothes, silver ornaments, a gold re- 
peater, &c., were left in them, and even in those 
which had been opened. The rooms on the second 
story were found in their usual state. 

On the table, in the parlour, stood a wine-glass 
with some red brandy at the bottom, and a closed clasp- 
knife stained with blood on the back and sides. Two 
newly-baked rolls were found near the entrance-door. 

The baker Stierhof stated that Baumler's maid 
had fetched these rolls from his shop the evening 
before, at about a quarter to ten. His wife, who was 
examined the next day on this point, recognised the 


rolls as those bought by the unfortunate maid-servant 
on the evening of the 20th of September, adding, 
" The evening before last, at nearly a quarter to ten, 
the maid came to my house and asked for two half- 
penny rolls, which I gave her. I did not recognise 
her till she was going away, when I said, 'It is you, 
is it ?' She answered sulkily, ' Yes.' I asked if they 
still had guests with them ; and she said ' Yes, there 
are a few fellows there still.' I then looked out of 
the window for a while : there was a death-like silence 
in the street, so much so that I remarked it to my 
people. At a quarter to ten exactly I closed the shop." 
This evidence afforded a strong presumption that 
some person or persons who were still in Baumler' s 
shop at a quarter to ten had committed this murder. 
Furthermore it was certain that the murder of the 
maid-servant could not have taken place earlier 
than a quarter to ten ; the two rolls which she had 
fetched about that time from the baker Stierhof, and 
which were found on the floor near the entrance, 
showed that the murderer had attacked her as she 
entered the shop on her return from the baker's, 
that she dropped the rolls in her fright, was driven 
into the corner of the shop, and there murdered. 
There could be no doubt that Baumler was murdered 
before the maid-servant, for he was found beside the 
stool on which he usually sat smoking his pipe by the 
stove. Had he been alive when the murderer at- 
tacked his maid, he would have been alarmed by the 
noise, and have gone out into the shop; at any rate 
he would not have remained quietly seated for the 
murderer to despatch him at his leisure. It was 
also evident that Baumler must have been murdered 


during the maid's absence. Now the distance from 
Baumler's house to the baker's shop is at most a 
hundred steps ; thus, even supposing that Schiitz, 
angry at being sent out so late, went very slowly, the 
walk there and back, including the short conversation 
with the baker's wife, could not have occupied above 
five minutes, and during this interval the murder of 
Baumler must have been completed, and that of 
Schiitz prepared. This was proved by the following 
circumstance : as long as the glass door was there 
the murderer could neither attack Schiitz on her 
entrance nor murder her within the threshold, as he 
could not possibly hide himself behind the glass door, 
which would moreover have exposed him to the risk 
of observation from every passer by, and even to the 
chance of some stray guest of Baumler's entering the 
shop and surprising him in the act. It was therefore 
necessary to take the glass door off its hinges, and to 
shut the street-door, before attacking Schiitz on her 
return to the house, and this he accordingly did. 
Baumler's house was not usually closed till eleven, 
but on the night of the murder a chandler of the 
name of Rossel, who lived opposite, happened to 
look out at about a quarter to ten, and saw, to his 
surprise, that Baumler's house was then closed no 
doubt by the murderer. It was a quarter to ten 
when Schiitz was at the baker's shop ; at the same 
hour Rossel saw Baumler's house shut : we may 
therefore infer that the murderer killed Baumler soon 
after his maid's departure, quickly unhinged the 
glass door, lay in wait for the maid behind the street- 
door, opened it for her, and attacked her as she came 
in : the concurring evidence of two witnesses thus 


distinctly proves that the murder of Baurnler and his 
maid must have taken place during the few minutes 
before and after a quarter to ten. 

We must further remark that the bell over the 
entrance-door did not ring when the police entered, 
and was found to be stuffed with paper. Neither 
Baumler nor his maid could have had any motive 
for doing this ; but the murderer had every reason : 
the ringing of the bell might have drawn the atten- 
tion of a neighbour or a passer by to Baumler's house 
at the very moment when the horrible crime was 
being committed just within the door. 

It further appeared that the murderer stayed till 
at least half-past ten, occupied in ransacking the 
house, and probably in washing himself and changing 
his clothes ; for a shoemaker of the name of Piihler, 
who passed by Baumler's house at that hour, saw a 
light in the first floor, while the window over the 
shop-door was quite dark. 

Although the two houses adjoining Baumler's were 
both inhabited, and two watchmen were guarding 
some loaded waggons in the street close by, and 
although the murders were committed at a time when 
very few people are in bed and asleep, and, as the 
baker's wife stated, when death-like silence prevailed 
in the street, not a single person could be found 
who had heard any outcry or other noise in Baumler's 

On examining the body of the maid-servant, a 
handsome well-shaped girl of twenty-three, the head 
was found completely shattered ; there were also 
several wounds upon the neck, breast, and hands, and 
the breast-bone and three of the ribs were frac- 


tured. Baumler's skull was broken into eleven pieces ; 
and although there were no external injuries upon the 
chest, the sternum and ribs were fractured, as in the 
maid-servant. There could not be the slightest doubt 
that the wounds were mortal. The surgeons gave it 
as their opinion that the wounds on the heads of both 
victims had been inflicted with a heavy instrument 
having a flat surface with sharp edges, probably the 
back of a hatchet. The ribs did not appear to have 
been broken with the hatchet, but rather by stamping 
on the bodies. 

The evidence of the baker's wife had led to the 
conclusion that some man who had stayed until 
late in the evening at Baumler's house must have 
been the murderer. Accordingly, all those who had 
been at Baumler's house on that evening were exam- 
ined, and concurred in saying that a stranger had 
entered the shop very early, had sat at the farther end 
of the table, alternately smoking and drinking red 
brandy out of a wine-glass ; and that he had remained 
there alone at nine o'clock, when the others went 
away. All agreed in their description of his person ; 
that he was about thirty, of dark complexion, and 
black hair and beard ; that he wore a dark-coloured 
coat (most of the witnesses said a blue one, which 
afterwards proved to be a mistake), and that he had 
on a high beaver hat. With the exception of one wit- 
ness who had conversed with the stranger about the 
hop trade and other like matters, and had found him 
a well-informed, agreeable man, they all stated that he 
had kept his hat pressed over his face, and his eyes 
constantly fixed on the ground, and that he had said 
little or nothing. He stated himself to be a hop-mer- 


chant, and said that he was waiting at Bauinler's for 
his companion, another hop-merchant, who had gone 
to the play. The witnesses recognised the glass pro- 
duced in court, as exactly similar to that out of which 
the stranger had been drinking red clove-brandy. 

Meanwhile suspicion had fallen upon a certain Paul 
Forster, who had lately been discharged from the 
bridewell at Schwabach, and who had been observed 
for several days before the murder walking about in a 
suspicious manner before Baumler's house. His 
father, a miserably poor day-labourer, lived with two 
daughters of infamous characters in a cottage belong- 
ing to a gardener named Thaler, in the suburb of St. 
John. Forster did not live with his father ; but on 
the morning after the murder he had left the suburb 
of St. John quite early, and had gone to Diesbeck, 
where he lived with a woman called Margaret Preiss, 
who had been his mistress for manv years. At her 

v / 

house he was arrested by the police on the 23rd of 
September, the third day after the murder. In her 
room were found, among other things, two bags of 
money, the one containing 209 florins 21 kreuzers, 
the other 152 florins 17 kreuzers. Besides these 
Preiss's illegitimate daughter, a girl of about fourteen, 
gave up a small purse containing some medals and a 
ducat which Forster had given to her when he re- 
turned to Diesbeck. 

On the following day, when the gens d'armes were 
escorting Forster and his mistress through Fiirth, the 
waiter of the inn recognised the prisoner as the man 
who had come to the inn at about eight or nine in 
the morning of the 21st of September, dressed in a 
dark grey cloth greatcoat, went away again in about 


an hour, and then returned dressed in a dark blue 
coat, and gave him a brown one which he carried 
under his arm to take care of, requesting him to keep 
it safe, and to be sure not to show it to any one ; 
adding that in a week he would return and claim it. 
The waiter now informed the magistrate at Fiirth of 
this circumstance, and produced the greatcoat, which 
was much stained and in some places soaked with 

The description given of the suspicious-looking 
stranger, who had sat out all the others on the even- 

O ' 

ing of the 20th of September, exactly resembled 

As soon as the prisoners reached Niirnberg, at 
about 4 P.M. of the 24th, they were conducted, ac- 
cording to legal practice, to view the bodies lying in 
Baumler's house. The corpses were laid in their 
coffins, with the faces exposed and the bodies covered 
with their own bloody garments ; B'aumler on the 
right, and the maid-servant on the left hand, thus 
leaving a passage open between the coffins. 

Paul Forster was brought in first : he stepped into 
the room, and between the two corpses, without the 
slightest change of countenance. When desired to 
look at them, he gazed steadfastly and coldly upon 
them, and replied to the question whether he knew 
the body on the right, " No, I know it not ; it is 
quite disfigured : I know it not." And to the second 
question, "Do you know this one to the left?" he 
answered in the same manner, " No, she has lain 
in the grave ; I know her not." When asked how 
he knew that the body had lain in the grave, he 
replied, pointing to the face, " Because she is so dis- 


figured ; the face is quite decayed here !" On being 
desired by the judge to point out the exact spot which 
he thought so decayed, with a constrained air, but 
with the coarsest indifference, he grasped the head of 
the murdered woman, pressed the brow, the broken 
nose, and the cheeks with his fingers, and said quite 
coolly, "Here: you may see it clearly !" He attempted 
to evade every question addressed to him by the judge, 
by affecting that the idea of murder was so utterly 
foreign to him, that in all innocence and simplicity 
he mistook the deadly wounds for the result of decay. 

All the endeavours of the judge to wring some 
sign of embarrassment or feeling from this man, 
as he stood between his two victims, were vain : his 
iron soul was unmoved. Only once, when asked, 
" Where, then, is the corn-chandler to whom the house 
belongs ?" he appeared staggered, but only for a mo- 
ment. The judge went so far in his zeal, as to desire 
him to hold the hands of both corpses, and then to 
say what he felt. Without a moment's hesitation, 
Forster grasped the cold hand of Baumler in his 
right, and that of Schiitz in his left hand ; and 
answered, "He feels cold ah, she is cold too;" 
an answer which clearly contained a sort of con- 
temptuous sneer at the judge's question. During the 
whole scene, the tone of his voice was as soft and 
sanctimonious, and his manner as calm, as his feelings 
were cold and unmoved. 

His mistress's behaviour was very different: she was 
much shaken on entering the room. When desired to 
look at the dead bodies, she did so, but instantly 
turned away shuddering, and asked for water. She 
declared that she knew nothing of these persons, or of 


the manner of their death. She said that she had 
learned that she was supposed to be implicated in the 
horrible deed from the populace, who crowded in thou- 
sands round the carriage which brought them from 
Fiirth to Niirnberg, calling her a murderess, striking 
her with their fists and sticks, and ill-using her in 
every way. But that God would manifest her inno- 
cence, and that she could bring witnesses to prove that 
she had not left her home at Diesbeck for some weeks. 
Her evident compassion for the victims, and horror of 
the crime, spoke more in favour of her innocence than 
her tears and protestations. An alibi was subse- 
quently most clearly proved. 

On Forster's examination, he professed himself 
totally ignorant of the cause of his arrest, adding that 
he conjectured from the shouts of the mob that he was 
suspected of a murder. He said that he had been at 
Diesbeck from the 21st to the 23rd September; and that 
if the murder was committed before that day, he should 
be as little able to prove his innocence as others would 
be to prove his guilt. He had never known the mur- 
dered persons. He had passed the 18th, 19th, and 
20th September in Niirnberg in search of employ- 
ment, and had gone on the last-named day through 
the Frauen Thor to the suburb of St. John. He had 
not been able to sleep in his father's house on account 
of the fleas, and had lain in the hay in Thaler's open 
shed, which he left at one o'clock in the morning 
when the people got up to begin threshing, and went 
to Diesbeck, which he reached at about 4 P.M. on 
the 21st; he gave his mistress two bags of money to 
keep for him. This money came into his possession 
in the following manner : While he was in the bride- 


well at Schwabach he had formed a most intimate 
friendship with a certain Xavier Beck, a jeweller, 
who was confined there for bigamy, and who subse- 
quently died in prison. This man confided to him 
that in a particular spot between Fiirth and Farnbach 
he had buried a large sum of money, half of which 
he promised to give to him. After his release, he, 
Forster, searched for and discovered the treasure, 
which, however, instead of amounting to eight or nine 
thousand florins, as Beck had represented, was at most 
two hundred and fifty. This money he had concealed 
in a stack of wood close by the Frauen Thor at Niirn- 
berg, but on the evening of the 20th September he 
had taken it out again, and had carried it on the 
following day to his mistress. The court was forced 
to rest satisfied with this tale for the present ; but in 
the mean time one suspicious circumstance after an- 
other rose up in black array against Paul Forster. 

Two of the men who had been drinking at Baum- 
ler's house on the 20th September, identified Forster 
as the suspicious-looking stranger already described ; 
the rest would not affirm this on oath, which was 
perhaps owing to his having since that day shaved 
off his thick beard, and had his hair cut close. Yet 
even these declared that " they thought he was the 
unknown guest ;" or " that he appeared to be one 
and the same person ;" or that " he was exceedingly 
like him." 

Margaret Preiss declared that on Thursday the 
21st Forster returned home at about 4 P.M. ; that 
instead of his usual brown coat, in which he had left 
her a few days before, he had on a new blue one ; 
that he wore a pair of large nankeen trowsers which 


she had never seen before, over his own old ones, and 
new-fashioned Suwarrow boots. He brought some 
money in his handkerchief, and gave it to her to keep 
for him, observing that it was not his, but only in- 
trusted to his care ; he then took from the pocket of 
his trowsers a Niirnberg thaler and a ducat, which he 
gave to her daughter. He was very tired and his 
feet were blistered, and, contrary to his usual habit, 
seemed thoughtful and out of spirits ; when she asked 
him the reason, he answered her drily, that nobody 
could always be cheerful. On the next day he ate 
nothing, and continued silent and gloomy. On the 
following Saturday, when they heard a noise and 
several men came into the room to apprehend him, 
he turned red as scarlet ; and when she said " You 
have been about some mischief," he merely answered, 
" Nay, I have done nothing." 

Dorr, a poor lead-pencil maker, who lived in the 
same cottage with old Forster and his daughters, gave 
evidence as follows: "On Thursday the 21st Sep- 
tember, at two o'clock in the morning, Paul Forster 
came to the window and called for his father to 
come out to him. Old Forster was in the barn 
threshing ; but Forster's sister Walburga, on hearing 
his voice, exclaimed * That is my brother John/ 
jumped out of bed and fetched her father. They then 
all three stood at the back of the house for about half 
an hour, talking together in a low voice. Next 
morning Walburga told his (Dorr's) wife that her 
brother was gone hop-picking, and had given her his 
old boots, as he had bought some new ones. Old 
Forster also told witness that his son had paid him an 
old debt of two or three florins." It further appeared 


that Paul Forster could not have slept in the shed till 
one in the morning, as he stated, as Thaler and his 
son swore that it was invariably locked at night His 
mysterious nocturnal visit at his father's house tallied 
with the time when the murder had been committed ; 
and his long conversation with his father and sister 
appears the more suspicious as the reason which Wal- 
burga assigned for calling her father out of the barn 
was totally untrue. 

In a very short time the instrument was discovered 
with which there was every reason to suppose the 
crime had been committed, and which furnished a 
fresh link in the chain of evidence against Forster. 
On the 20th September a certain Margaret Wolflin 
saw Catherine, Forster's youngest sister, go into the 
churchyard in the suburb of St. John's, come out 
again and fetch her elder sister Walburga, who then 
went into the churchyard, where Paul Forster was 
standing. After talking with him for a short time in 
an under-tone, she went home, and soon returned 
carrying an axe under her arm as if to hide it. 
Margaret Wolflin asked her what she had under her 
arm, and she then carried the axe more openly, and 
gave it to her brother with the words " Be so good as 
to take this axe into town to be ground for me." 
Forster took it and went towards Niirnberg, after ex- 
changing a few words and casting an angry glance at 

On the following morning Walburga met Margaret 
Wolflin and told her that the chandler Baumler had 
been stabbed the night before. She had her brother's 
boots in her basket, but they had been so washed and 
rubbed that she could not find a purchaser for them at 


any price. On the same day Walburga met a certain 
Roth and told him that her brother had given her the 
boots, which she was forced to wear herself, adding, 
" If things go well, it will not be long before I have a 
new petticoat too." 

As soon as the police had received information of 
these facts, they searched Forster's house, arid found 
behind the stack of wood an axe, which one of the 
police identified as one which he had seen the night 
before (26th September) lying behind the stove 
wrapped in a wet rag : there was some red moisture 
on the hatchet just where the handle joined the blade. 
Margaret Wolflin recognised this as the same which 
Walburga had given to her brother by a flaw in the 
steel, and the physician declared the reddish stains on 
the handle just below the blade to be half-effaced 
marks of blood. 

Forster's two sisters, Walburga and Catherine, were 
apprehended and examined. On her first examina- 
tion Walburga confessed that her brother had bor- 
rowed the axe exactly as Wolflin had stated, under 
pretence of wanting it for a burglary ; that between 
two and three in the morning he brought it back 
to her partly cleaned, and at the same time made 
her a present of his boots, which had been washed 
up to the ankle, telling her that he had not been 
lucky in his burglary, but that whenever he got 
any money he would send her some. At Forster's 
desire she then fetched their father, to whom he paid 
1 fl. 38 kr. which he had borrowed of him a fortnight 
before. On her second examination, however, when 
pressingly admonished by the judge, she confessed 
that her brother had said to her on that night, " I 


have committed a crime I have done a great thing 
I have murdered a man ! Fetch my father quickly, 
I am going hop-picking. Do you wash the axe and 
the boots, and take care of them for me, so that no 
one may know anything of the matter." On the 
boots she had observed large spots, which disap- 
peared on washing, and which she supposed must 
have been blood. She added in a subsequent exami- 
nation, that the silk tassels of both boots were quite 
glued together with blood. 

The circumstantial evidence against Forster now 
appeared conclusive. The dark brown coat worn 
by the accused on the day of the murder, and 
left with the waiter at the inn of Fiirth, was found 
to be much stained with blood. It was further 
proved that over it he wore a good grey greatcoat, 
which he exchanged at Fiirth with a Jewess for the 
blue one in which he was apprehended. This grey 
coat had belonged to Baumler, and the white lining 
was much stained with blood : the nankeen trow- 
sers and the Suwarrow boots were also identified 
as Baumler's property by the tradesmen who had 
made them for him. All these things, and the money- 
bags, which could have belonged to no one but 
Baumler, were stronger evidence of his guilt than 
the testimony of the most unsuspected witnesses. 

Such was the state of the case when Forster sent 
to request an audience of the judge. The solitude of 
the prison had afforded him leisure to reflect that a 
number of damning circumstances were clearly proved 
against him. His natural acuteness and long expe- 
rience of such matters taught him that by persevering 
in the affectation of ignorance as well as innocence of 



the crime laid to his charge, he would expose himself 
to the danger of being compelled step by step to deny 
manifest truths, in the teeth of the most conclusive 
evidence. This, he saw, would be a difficult and 
dangerous game, in which he must be driven from 
one retreat to another, and end by being entangled 
in snares woven of his own answers and admissions. 
He therefore resolved to disarm the judge by making 
a confession, which, while it should throw the guilt 
on others, might nevertheless accord with the evidence 
already in the possession of the judge, or likely to be 
still produced. He opened the audience on the 3rd 
November by asking " pardon of the judge for all the 
untruths of which he had been guilty on the first 
examination, and by declaring that he would now relate 
circumstances which must lead to the discovery of the 
murderer." His statement was shortly this : 

" On Monday the 18th September he had gone 
from Diesbeck to Langenzenn, determined in conse- 
quence of his misfortunes to leave his native country 
and to enlist as a soldier in Bohemia. While sitting 
in a melancholy mood by the road side near Lan- 
genzenn, two men, followed by a couple of dogs, 
came up to him, asked what was the matter, and, 
on hearing his distress, expressed great interest in 
his fate. They told him that they were hop-mer- 
chants, of the name of Schlemmer, from Hersbruck ; 
that they were brothers, and had rich relations in 
Bohemia, whither they were going with a cargo of 
hops, and offered to take him with them to Bohemia, 
where he would be sure to find employment. They 
added that on the morrow or the next day (Wednes- 
day, the day of the murder) they should be going 


with a hop-cart into Niirnberg, where they had a 
cousin, a corn-chandler, of the name of Baumler, 
who lived near the church of St. Laurence. On the 
following day, the 19th September, he went to Niirn- 
berg, walked up and down the street near the church 
of St. Laurence, inquired of a barber for Baumler, 
and asked ' who the woman in the house might be.' 
He was told it was the maid. He waited in vain till 
six in the evening for the Schlemmers ; and then re- 
turned to the suburb of St. John's and slept in the 
shed. On the following morning, the 20th September, 
he again went into the town, and after wandering 
about until four in the afternoon, the thought struck 
him that he would go and take leave of his sisters 
before starting for Bohemia. On this occasion his 
sister Walburga gave him an axe, with the request 
that he would take it to the grinder at Niirnberg, 
whence she would fetch it herself. At about five 
o'clock, as he was going with the axe to the grinder, 
he met the Schlemmers, who asked him to carry a 
letter to the post for them as quickly as possible, 
offering to take care of the axe in the mean time, and 
to wait for him where they then stood. After putting 
the letter into the post he returned to the spot, but did 
not find the Schlemmers, and passed the time in walk- 
ing up and down the street until about six o'clock, 
when he went into Baumler's house and drank some 
red clove-brandy. At a quarter before ten, when all 
the other guests were gone, the Schlemmers at length 
arrived, and Baumler greeted them as cousins. Soon 
after they sent him to wait in the Caroline-strasse 
for their cart, which was coming from Fiirth, drawn 
by two white horses. This he did ; and soon after a 


quarter to ten the two Schlemmers came to him, 
carrying a trunk between them, and one of them with 
a white parcel under his arm. At this moment the 
cart drove up with two men in it, to whom the 
Schlemmers said that ' they had had great luck ; they 
had won the great prize.' They then made him get 
into the cart with them. But at the gate of the town 
they told him that as they had had such luck they 
should not go into Bohemia; but that, in order to 
show him how kindly they felt towards him, they 
would give him something which might assist him in 
his own country. They then gave him the white 
parcel which one of them had under his arm, and at 
the same time returned the axe to him. He then 
went back to the suburb of St. John, and on opening 
the parcel found in it a greatcoat, a pair of boots, 
a pair of trowsers, and three bags of money." 

During the whole of this examination, which with 
the questions and answers took up six full hours, the 
prisoner stood in the same position, without once 
sitting down on the chair which the judge offered 
him. The story flowed from his lips as glibly as 
though it had been learnt by rote, and he looked 
the judge full in the face the while; but when he 
was cross-examined about the appearance, figure, 
dress, &c. of the two Schlemmers, he became em- 
barrassed, spoke more slowly, hesitated and con- 
sidered, and avoided the eyes of the judge. 

That no such people as the brothers Schlemmer 
were to be found at Hersbruck or elsewhere was of 
course to be expected. But that Forster had accom- 
plices was in fact implied in this statement. This 
had been suspected by the judge from the very begin- 


ning; and indeed it seemed scarcely credible that one 
man should be able to murder two people almost at 
the same moment, and in so public a street. Besides, 
the mere act of killing was not all ; several other ar- 
rangements and precautions were necessary to pre- 
vent interruption and discovery. At the very moment 
when the maid was in all probability on her way 
home, a few seconds after the murder of Baumler, the 
glass door had to be taken off, the other door to be 
placed on the hinges, and the bell to be stopped, 
and then the maid was let in and murdered. The 
commodes, chests, and closets up-stairs were to be 
broken open and rifled. This apparently required 
several pairs of hands. Moreover Forster himself had 
said, while sitting in Baumler's shop, that he was 
waiting for his companion, who was gone to the play. 
The maid too, when she bought the rolls, spoke of 
several fellows who were still at her master's house. 
One of the watchmen set to guard the waggons stated 
that he saw a suspicious-looking man standing with 
folded arms gazing at Baumler's house; and Wal- 
burga, Forster's sister, declared that when her brother 
gave her back the axe she saw, at a distance of fifty 
paces, a person with a white apron, whom she took 
for Margaret Preiss. A few days after Forster had 
been confined in the fortress at Niirnberg, on the 
28th September, at eleven o'clock at night, two men 
were seen by the sentinel looking up at the window 
of Forster's room, and on his approach they ran away. 
Another time the sentinel saw two men lying under 
a tree on the bank of the river close beneath the 
fortress ; on his calling out " Who's there ?" they 
only answered the challenge by a volley of stones : 


the sentinel at length fired, whereupon they ran 

The presumption that the murders and robbery 
were committed by several accomplices was strength- 
ened by statements made by some of Baumler's ac- 
quaintances, that he had at that time a sum of 1500 
or 2000 florins in his house in ready money, for the 
purpose of purchasing a stock in trade ; whereas after 
the murder little or no cash was found in the house, 
and the whole sum in Forster's possession did not 
amount to much more than 360 florins. All these 
circumstances certainly encouraged the idea that he 
must have had accomplices who shared the booty 
with him. 

The judge was accordingly called upon to exert all 
his sagacity in endeavouring to discover Forster's 
accomplices, as well as in examining the evidence 
against the prisoner himself. An extensive corre- 
spondence was set on foot, witnesses were examined, 
journeys undertaken, as far even as Frankfort-on-the- 
Main ; the faintest shadow of suspicion was eagerly 
pursued ; all persons of doubtful character, all who 
had been in any way connected with Forster or his 
sister Walburga, all the convicts who had been ac- 
quainted with him in prison or since his release, were 
examined, and many arrested. But after the court 
and the police had resorted to every possible means 
of detection, and had exhausted all their ingenuity in 
the pursuit of evidence, they found themselves at 
exactly the same point whence they had started. In 
most cases the innocence of the suspected persons 
immediately appeared upon investigation ; and all 
those to whom the slightest suspicion could attach 


proved most satisfactory alibis. In short, we are per- 
suaded that if so much zeal and ingenuity failed in 
making any further discovery, it was solely because 
there was nothing to discover. 

The remarkable coincidence between the wounds 
upon both corpses renders it in the highest degree 
probable that they were inflicted with the same hand. 

The danger and difficulty of such an enterprise 
vanish as we become better acquainted with the cha- 
racter of Forster, a villain who united to great bodily 
strength, and a hand trained to strike, very uncommon 
acuteness and a determined will one who perceived at 
a glance whatever opportunities offered themselves, 
and instantly seized them ; who pursued his purpose 
with a clear head and a cold heart whom no im- 
pediments could disconcert, no horrors dismay. To 
such a man the greater and more daring the scheme, 
the more inviting it would appear. But the whole 
can be easily explained, without supposing either the 
existence of accomplices, or of any very extraordinary 
courage in the one murderer. Forster had devoted 
several days to watching Baumler's house and finding 
out his habits. His long stay in the shop on the 
evening of the murder made him thoroughly ac- 
quainted with the place, and gave him an opportunity 
of observing every thing, and of seizing the most 
favourable moment for the execution of his purpose. 
As soon as the maid had left the house, Forster sud- 
denly attacked Baumler, who was sitting upon his low 
seat by the stove, and felled him, dead or dying, to 
the ground, with one blow of the axe which he had 
hitherto concealed. He must then have hastened to 
the entrance of the shop, bent back the bell, stuffed it 


with paper, taken the glass door off its hinges, shut 
and locked the folding-door, and hidden himself 
behind it. On Schiitz's return he opened the door to 
let her in, and must have struck her from behind 
with his murderous weapon, as was shown by the 
fracture in her skull, and then despatched her in 
the corner of the shop. Baumler's house was so 
small, and every thing so conveniently placed, that 
to unhinge the glass door, to fix the wooden one, 
and to prepare every thing for the murder of the 
maid, would scarce require more than half a minute. 
Besides, Forster had so often walked up and down 
the street, and so carefully examined the ground, that 
he could exactly Calculate the time it would take 
the maid to go to and return from the baker's, and 
his cool head was not disturbed by the sight of 
blood. It can easily be explained why none of the 
neighbours heard a scream ; the blows aimed by the 
steady hand of the murderer with the heavy axe were 
so sudden and so tremendous, that they must have 
instantly deprived the victims of consciousness, if not 
of life. 

Another circumstance strongly corroborates the 
opinion that only one person was concerned in the 
murder and robbery : many articles of value, belonging 
to Baumler, were found in his house. Several accom- 
plices in robbery and murder would not have left such 
booty behind ; but Forster, to whom time was valu- 
able, took only what he most wanted money, and 
such clothes as first fell into his hands. That Baumler 
had as much as 1500 or 2000 florins in the house was 
a mere supposition. If even he had wanted so much 
for the purchase of stores, it does not follow that he 


would have kept such a sum in hard money by him. 
After his death, too, it appeared that common report 
had greatly magnified his wealth. 

It was clearly proved that Forster was the only 
guest left in Baumler's house after nine o'clock. Had 
one or more accomplices joined him then, they wouk'. 
have called for brandy as an excuse for staying; but 
on the following morning, only one glass that out of 
which Forster had drunk was found upon the table. 

Moreover, Forster had been seen about Niirnberg by 
many persons for several days before the murder, espe- 
cially in the street near B'aumler's house, and always 
alone. During this time no one came near him who 
could be in the slightest degree suspected of being his 
accomplice, either at Diesbeck, before he went to Niirn- 
berg to commit the murder, or after he had returned 
to Diesbeck by way of Fiirth, after accomplishing it. 
We must, indeed, except his sister, Walburga, and 
Margaret Preiss, but both completely proved alibis. 

If he had accomplices, it is strange that all clue to 
them was lost, while every species of evidence accu- 
mulated against Forster. 

It is true that Forster told Baumler and the other 
guests that he was waiting for the return of his com- 
rade from the play; but a stranger requires some 
excuse for staying from six till nine in the same 

The baker's wife, from whom Anna Schiitz bought 
the rolls, certainly understood her to say that there 
were still several fellows at Baumler's house, but the 
poor girl was already several paces distant from the 
shop when she answered ; and if we consider the un- 
importance of the question and answer, and the allow- 


ances to be made for the treachery of memory, it 
seems very uncertain whether the baker's wife accu- 
rately heard or remembered what the maid had said. 
Moreover, she said that Anna Schiitz was very angry 
at being sent out so late, and anger is not apt to mea- 
sure words very correctly. 

The suspicious-looking fellow, whom the watch- 
man Weism tiller saw in the street opposite Baumler's 
house, at a quarter past nine, was in all probability 
Forster himself, who may have made some excuse 
for leaving Baumler's shop for a moment, in order 
to see whether there were many people about, or to 
fetch the axe, which he may have hidden somewhere 
near the house. 

Walburga's statement, that on the night of the 
murder she saw some one at a distance of about fifty 
yards behind her brother, deserves little attention, not 
only because it was dark at the time, but also because 
she evidently wished to gain importance in the eyes 
of the court by making interesting revelations. 

The accidental circumstance of two men looking up 
at the Bridewell at eleven o'clock at night, on the 
28th September, could only be of consequence if it 
were proved that they looked up not from mere curi- 
osity, but with the knowledge that it was Forster's 
window at which they were looking. The second 
occurrence on the 31st October probably had no 
connection whatever with any of the prisoners: the 
two men who were then lying under the tree by the 
Pegnitz were most likely a couple of drunken fellows 
who amused themselves by throwing stones at the 
sentinel, but who naturally ran away when he dis- 
charged his musket. 


The special inquisition to which Paul Forster, his 
sister Walburga, and Margaret Preiss were first sub- 
jected, on the 7th November, 1820, produced nothing 
of importance against Forster. He underwent thirteen 
long examinations, in which he had to answer one 
thousand three hundred and thirteen questions, besides 
confrontations with innumerable witnesses ; but no 
confession could be wrung from him. Animated by 
a spirit as powerful and enduring as his bodily frame, 
he often stood during his examinations for five or six 
hours on the same spot, and nothing ever made him 
flinch or waver. Once in the Bridewell he said to some 
of his companions, that " If ever he got into trouble 
again, he would persist in denial until his tongue 
turned black and rotted in his mouth and his body 
was bent double." After his discharge he said the 
same thing to his sister and to Wolflin. Indeed he 
combined in his person all the qualities which could 
enable him to resist truth even when most evident. 
He was a man whom no question could embarras 
and no admonition disconcert. He had considered 
beforehand the whole array of evidence against him 
as carefully as the judge himself. Thus nothing took 
him by surprise; there was nothing for which he 
was unprepared. He clung to his fable of the two 
hop-merchants like the shipwrecked sailor to the 
plank which is to convey him to shore. This tale, 
in which he never varied the smallest circumstance, 
although he admitted that unfortunately for him 
no one would believe it, always afforded him a 
loophole by which to escape from the most con- 
vincing facts or from the clearest evidence. His pre- 
sence in Baumler's house, the axe with which the 


murder was committed, Baumler's clothes found upon 
him, did not, according to his version of the matter, 
criminate him, but the two hop-merchants. His con- 
fession of the murder to his sister, and the fact that 
his boots were bloody, rested merely on her testimony, 
and he positively denied both to her face. He ac- 
counted for the blood on his brown coat and that 
on Baumler's green one by some incredible fiction. 
All means of attack recoiled from his iron soul ; 
neither the bloody clothes nor the axe, nor con- 
frontation with his sister and other witnesses, could 
shake him. If a passing flush or paleness, or a 
downcast eye, occasionally betrayed surprise and em- 
barrassment, it was but for a moment, and he 
quickly recovered his self-possession. When the axe 
was produced, his changing colour and rolling eye 
betrayed the fearful emotion within ; but his voice and 
his answers remained unshaken. Upon being con- 
fronted with his sister Walburga, he seemed con- 
fused, his colour fled, and his hands trembled; but he 
still preserved so complete a command over himself 
as to look her full in the face whilst he denied the 
most manifest truths. During the whole special in- 
quisition, the emotions he exhibited were those of a 
wild beast suddenly caught in a net, vainly seeking 
an outlet by which to escape from the hunters who 
surround him. When the judge animadverted upon 
his changing colour or his embarrassed air, he replied 
with perfect truth, " It is quite possible for an innocent 
man to seem more embarrassed than a guilty one : 
the latter knows exactly what he has done ; the former 
feels that he cannot prove his innocence." He con- 
cealed his obstinacy under an assumption of calmness, 


gentleness, and piety, as if humbly submitting to a 
fate he did not deserve. " I see plainly," said he in 
his last examination, " that I cannot escape unless the 
Schlemmers are taken. I have therefore nothing to 
do but to pray to God that he will enlighten my 
judges and enable them to distinguish between guilt 
and innocence, between the possible and the im- 
possible. In this case guilt and innocence touch, and 
I have no means of proving my innocence." The 
following circumstance will give some idea of his 
cunning, hypocrisy, and dissimulation : During the 
trial a certain John Wagner, who had formerly been 
in prison with him at Schwabach, was confronted with 
him to give evidence touching expressions which 
Forster had dropped concerning some scheme for 
future crimes. Wagner, on this occasion, accused 
him of stealing a pair of silk braces. Forster denied 
the charge, and even when the braces were produced 
in court and identified by Wagner, he persisted in his 
denial. But in the solitude of his prison he reflected 
that he could turn this incident to good account in 
giving an air of truth to his falsehoods respecting 
the murder. Accordingly, after an interval of two 
days, he requested an audience and appeared before 
the judge, with downcast looks and trembling hands, 
like one bowed down by shame and remorse, and con- 
fessed in a circumstantial manner that " he had given 
way to the temptations of Satan and had stolen Wag- 
ner's silk braces." This repentant confession was 
doubtless intended to convince the judge that one 
whose tender conscience could not bear even the bur- 
den of a stolen pair of braces would be still less able to 
endure the remorse which must follow a double murder. 


Towards the close of the trial he must have seen, 
and indeed he acknowledged as much, that, in spite 
of his courage, obstinacy, and cunning, truth could 
not be overpowered by fables and evasions. His 
obstinate perseverance in denial must therefore be 
attributed not only to a hope of thus avoiding capital 
punishment, but also to pride. Impressed with a con- 
viction of his own mental superiority, and ambitious 
of a character for dauntless courage and immovable 
strength of will, he was resolved not to allow the judge 
to gain the slightest advantage over his feelings or his 
understanding. If he must fall, at least he would fall 
like a hero. If he could not avoid the fate of a cri- 
minal, he would avoid the disgrace of a confession 
wrung from weakness or cowardice. Men might 
shudder at him, but his fearful crimes should excite 
wonder, not contempt. The murder of Baumler and 
his maid was a crime which any common villain 
might commit ; but to stand unmoved by all the 
dangers which followed the deed, to bid defiance to 
truth, to the skill of the judge, to behold the most 
terrible sights with a steady gaze and without one 
feeling of pity ; to turn a deaf ear to the admonitions 
of conscience ; to remain firm in the dreadful solitude 
of the cell, as well as in the presence of the court; 
this it was which raised him, in his own estimation, 
far above the common herd of criminals. 

Forster escaped capital punishment in spite of the 
strong circumstantial evidence against him, as no 
confession could be extorted from him, and as there 
were no competent eye-witnesses to the murder. 
Sentence to this effect was accordingly passed upon 
him on the 22nd July, 1821 : 


" That John Paul Forster is convicted of the murder 
of the chandler Baumler and of his maid-servant, on 
the night of the 20th September, 1 820, and that he is 
condemned to imprisonment for life in chains." 

His sister Walburga was convicted of aiding and 
abetting the murder committed by her brother, and 
sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment in the 
house of correction. Margaretha Preiss was acquitted. 

Imprisonment in chains annihilates civil existence, 
as completely as death puts an end to physical life. 
It deprives a man for ever of his rights as a citizen, a 
husband, and a father ; of honour, property, and free- 
dom ; nothing is left him but bare life passed in 
slavery and chains. Evidence of guilt strong enough 
to justify such a punishment ought to entail that of 
death. In case of error, the hardship is equally great, 
as it is no more possible to restore a man to civil life 
after the execution of this sentence, than to resuscitate 
him after his head has been cut off. The Bavarian 
code affords no means of relief for the man dead in 
law ; how, indeed, could he recover his property from 
his heirs, or claim his wife then living in lawful wed- 
lock with another? In a word, in cases in which the 
State hesitates to award capital punishment, it should 
equally refrain from inflicting this sentence of death 
in life. 

The Bavarian law directs that the criminal be pre- 
viously exposed for one hour, if possible on the spot 
where the crime was committed, in chains, and with 
a tablet on his breast specifying the nature of his 
offence and the sentence passed upon him. Thus a 
man convicted on the clearest evidence instructs the 


people from the pillory by the inscription on his 
breast, " Imprisonment for twofold Murder," that a 
man may be convicted of such crimes as these, and 
yet not have deserved death. The popular sense, 
utterly unable to distinguish between the niceties of 
legal evidence, and believing with blunt simplicity that 
conviction is conviction, and that guilt is guilt, must 
be strangely puzzled and disturbed in its faith in the 
justice of the laws and the impartiality of those who 
administer it. The most ignorant of the people are 
aware that the guilty occasionally escape, from want 
of evidence; but that a murderer publicly and solemnly 
denounced as guilty should escape the punishment in- 
curred by his crime, owing to some mere technical 
objection, is far beyond the comprehension of the most 
intelligent among them, and utterly repugnant to 
their sense of justice. 

John Paul Forster was born on the 22nd Janu- 
ary, 1791, and professed the Lutheran faith. His 
father arid his sisters Walburga and Catherine lived, 
as we have before mentioned, in the suburb of St. 
John's, and the whole family belonged to a sect of 
chosen brethren who do as little work as possible, in 
order that they may have more time for praying, 
singing hymns, arid reading the Bible, and who com- 
pound with heaven for their vices by their so-called 

Forster has given a very circumstantial account of 
his own life and character, not only in his evidence 
before the court, but also in a MS. composed by 


himself in 1817-18, during his imprisonment at 
Schwabach, and entitled ' The Romance of my Life 
and Loves/ In this autobiography truth and fiction 
are so closely blended, that it is scarce possible to say 
where the one begins and the other ends. But the 
manner in which he speaks of himself, and of his real 
and fictitious adventures, gives an exact picture of the 
inmost workings of his mind, and serves as a key to 
his character. 

As a child, his quiet prudent behaviour distin- 
guished him, as he assures us, from other boys. 
While his brother was running about the streets, 
playing or fighting with his companions, and often 
returning home with torn clothes or a bloody nose, 
Forster's delight was to sit in a neighbouring public- 
house where the good burghers of the town were wont 
to spend their leisure hours at the game of loto. Here 
he would do them small services, by which he not only 
gained many a penny, but also the "respect of the 
whole company, and the name of good little Paul." 
When he was in his eighth year a Prussian nobleman 
came to live in a house in the garden which Forster's 

father cultivated. Baron von D had two children 

of the same age as Paul Forster, and the " good little 
Paul " occasionally had the honour of associating with 
these young nobles. He carried their toys, fetched 
their bread and butter, and insinuated himself into 
their good graces by waiting upon them " as if he had 
really been their servant." He seems to have been as 
proud of acting the part of a lackey to these boys as 
if he had become a baron himself. " My conduct," 
says he, " pleased the noble parents so much, that they 
every day renewed their invitation to me. My other 



companions now began to treat me with indifference, 
and even with contempt. My brother Christopher 
looked at me coldly, and said, * Go ! I am not good 
enough for you now ; I see you mean to be a fine 
gentleman, since you will not play with us any 
longer.' I excused myself civilly, and continued my 
own way of life." In his self-satisfied account of him- 
self we trace the character of an idle effeminate boy, 
who prefers loitering about public-houses to the 
natural enjoyments of youth; a premature hypocrite, 
who cringes and flatters in order to worm himself into 
the favour of strangers, and who reckons it a high 
honour to be the menial slave of boys of noble birth, 
while he despises his own equals. The mixture of 
pride and meanness, of vanity and coarseness, and 
the desire to bask in the sunshine of nobility, even 
in the most servile position, still appear in the 
further account of his early life. When he had left 

school, he says that *' the noble Baroness von D 

begged his father to permit the boy to enter her 
service." His fatherVconseut obtained, Forster was in 
the seventh heaven. He was no longer called Paul, 
but John ; and, as a reward for his attention and care, 
dressed in a grey livery, so that "he might accom- 
pany his noble master and mistress to balls and assem- 
blies, and thus learn the manners of the fashionable 

This felicity did not, however, last long. " My 
father," he says, " from a regard to the welfare of my 
soul, recalled me and endeavoured to impose upon me 
the task of learning the profession of a shoemaker ; 
but my attachment to the nobility was too strong, and 
I threatened to run away." At last Forster chose the 


trade of a gardener, because " a gardener frequently 
comes into contact with gentlefolks." He speaks in 
high praise of his own proficiency in gardening ; and, 
indeed, nothing is known to his disadvantage before 
he entered the army. About this time the rector of 
the parish gave him the character of being active, 
industrious, and well-behaved. He himself states that 
he so entirely gained the confidence of the owner of 
the garden rented by his master, that after the death 
of the latter it was intrusted to his management, 
which he exercised for two years "with great ap- 
plause," at the end of which time he was forced to 
leave the place by the tender importunities of the 
gardener's widow, a woman of fifty, who conceived a 
violent passion for this " half-blown rosebud of seven- 
teen." He next served as gardener in a family where 
Babetta the cook " subjugated him by the charms of 
her person, and still more by the graces of her mind." 
The romance with Babetta was approaching its catas- 
trophe when, in 1807, " the voice of his country sum- 
moned him to the musket of military life ;" that is to 
say, he was drawn on the conscription, and enrolled in 
a regiment of the line. 

At this time Forster seems to have entered upon 
his career of vice and crime : the fact is, that he 
wanted patience and fortitude to endure a life which 
thwarted his inclinations and mortified his pride. 
The day on which he joined his battalion was his 
" first day of humiliation ;" for his Babetta signified 
to him that she did not consider it compatible with 
her honour to associate with a common soldier. But 
the worst was still to come. After his first drill, he 
exclaims, "Ah, this was the real beginning of my 



misery ! From the earliest dawn until the close of 
day a merciless corporal was busied in beating mili- 
tary ardour into me, in twisting me about like a 
puppet, and making me as lank and as supple as a 
greyhound. He scarce" allowed me time to swallow 
my scanty rations ; and when I stretched myself at 
night upon my sack of straw, I felt as if I had been 
broken upon the wheel. Bavarian blows and Bava- 
rian rations are an infallible remedy against love ! 
During the first few weeks I seldom thought of my 
lovely Babetta, but often enough of running away. 
I envied every cobbler his golden leisure, and tottered 
through the streets at midday like a hunted stag 
seeking a spring of fresh water." The life of a 
soldier never ceased to be an intolerable burden to 
him. How was an effeminate libertine to endure 
privations and hardships, or sleep on hard boards, 
instead of on his mistress's bed ? Was one so fond 
of existence to expose his person to cannon-balls? 
or one so vain to submit to the rude contact of a 
corporal's stick, and to be confounded with thou- 
sands of other men in the dress of a common 
soldier? His ill-regulated passions were fretted and 
increased by control, and his powers of dissimula- 
tion called forth by the severity of the discipline 
under which he was forced to bend. As his desires 
increased in violence, he grew more reckless as to the 
means by which he gratified them ; and the fre- 
quency of his trials, imprisonments, and corporal 
punishments only taught him indifference to the 
penalty of his crimes. 

In 1808, when his regiment was encamped at 
Furth, he contrived to steal out of his tent and 


through all the outposts, and went to Niirnberg, 
where he spent the night with Babetta, and crept 
back early the following morning to his tent. But 
the same day, on parade, he was called out of the 
ranks and questioned as to his absence during the 
night. At first he denied the charge. But when he 
found that the proofs were strong against him, he 
confessed, making excuses for his conduct, " but 
not," he adds, " until he saw that he was clearly con- 
victed." Twenty lashes were immediately inflicted 
on him. 

He made the campaign in 1809 against Austria ; 
was, according to his own account, taken prisoner, 
ransomed himself, and returned to Niirnberg. In 
1810 he left his barracks, but returned after eighteen 
days' absence, and was placed under arrest. In that 
year he became acquainted with Margaretha Preiss, 
who already had an illegitimate daughter by a mar- 
ried man, but for whom he conceived the most violent 
and lasting passion. In 1811 a furlough was granted 
to him for an indefinite time, during which he acted 
as gardener and tavern-keeper at a small property 
near Adlitz which Margaretha rented ; and he endea- 
voured, but without success, to obtain his discharge, 
in order to marry his mistress. In 1812 he was sum- 
moned to join his regiment. At Adlitz he com- 
mitted several petty thefts. He stole an umbrella 
and a shawl from one of the guests in his garden, 
for which he was punished in the following year by 
order of his commanding officer. It is extremely 
probable that he committed greater thefts, as he 
relates that he was able to lend out at interest two 
sums, one of 600 florins, another of 250. In 1813 


he deserted, and wandered about for eleven weeks, 
living chiefly in the woods : at the end of which 
time he went back to Margaretha, who then rented 
a small public-house at the suburb of St. John's 
at Niirnberg, where he was discovered soon after. 
He was condemned for desertion and theft to run 
the gauntlet three times backwards and forwards 
through one hundred and fifty men, and to six addi- 
tional years of military service. On the very day of 
his punishment he deserted again, was again taken, 
and again received the same sentence. This lesson 
also was vain. In 1815 he was again subjected to 
a criminal trial for desertion, theft, and conspiracy 
with a younger sister of his mistress to extort money, 
and was drummed out of the regiment. 

This long wished for dismissal from the service, 
disgraceful as it was, at length rewarded him for the 
indomitable obstinacy and indifference to disgrace 
which he had displayed for so many years, in a 
stubborn neglect of his duties. 

From this time forward he led an idle and dissolute 
life, occasionally working as a day-labourer, but 
much oftener stealing and squandering the proceeds, 
which were considerable, with his mistress, until, in 
1816, he was arrested and tried before the criminal 
court at Niirnberg for theft and housebreaking, and 
sentenced to three years and six months' imprisonment 
in the House of Correction. In consequence of his 
good conduct in confinement, he was released at the 
expiration of three-fourths of his term, on the 21st of 
August, 1820, exactly four weeks before the murder. 
He left this high school of iniquity firmly resolved to 
find the means of enjoying permanent happiness in the 


undisturbed possession of his mistress, and fully con- 
vinced that no way to this object save that of crime 
was open to him. He had long since broken with 
virtue and honour, and Margaretha was his last re- 
maining link with mankind. As he was to depend 
upon crime for his subsistence, it was indifferent to 
him what form it took. He was disposed to run any 
risk in order to obtain a large sum of money, which 
he might share with Margaretha. He perilled his 
freedom, his life he felt sure of saving by his cun- 
ning, boldness, presence of mind, and by the fixed 
determination never to confess. The wonderful 
stories he had read of heroic robbers and remarkable 
criminals, who escaped the vengeance of justice by 
their boldness or their cunning, and of celebrated 
captives who in the end obtained their liberty by 
some miraculous accident, made him see his plan of 
life in the light of a romance, and hope to enrol his 
name in the list of those heroes whose fame he so 
much envied. Filled with these hopes and schemes, 
he awaited with impatience the day of his release, 
and contrived by hypocritical submissiveness, repent- 
ance, and humility, to shorten the time of imprison- 
ment. Thus resolved for the worst, he was thrown 
back upon society its bitter foe ; and before a month 
had elapsed, he signalized himself by a deed which, 
for the cruelty, cunning, and boldness with which it 
was planned and executed, has few parallels in the 
annals of crime. 

The bare fact of writing his own life, proves how 
important a personage this man considered himself. 
It is true that, according to the preface, the work was 
intended as a legacy for his beloved Margaretha, in 


the event of his death ; but it is manifestly written 
with a view to other readers nay, perhaps even to 
an honourable place on the shelves of a circulating 

This work, allowing for several faults of spelling, 
shows a degree of information, cultivation of mind, 
and power of composition very unusual in Forster's 
class. Several anecdotes for instance, the account 
of his childish amour with a girl of eleven, of the 
name of Wilhelmine, and of his stealing out of the 
camp at Fiirth to visit his mistress Babette, at 
Niirnberg, are told with a clearness, simplicity, and 
truth, that would do credit to many a practised 
pen. But by far the greater part, and especially the 
long diffuse preface, is written in the pompous in- 
flated style of the worst romances. In many places 
he has introduced songs and poems borrowed from 
the best German authors, which, according to his 
own account, he sang or recited on various occa- 
sions, and which he pretends to have composed him- 
self. His head seems to have been crammed with 
sentimental phrases and romantic images, which ex- 
cite disgust and horror in the mouth of such a being. 
This tiger, who, with a hand reeking with the blood 
of an old man, could murder an innocent and beau- 
tiful girl, can talk " of departed souls that hold con- 
stant communion with him;" of the " soft murmur 
of the evening breezes, and the melting harmonyof 
the senses, which, after his death, would inform his 
beloved Margaretha that he was near her;" of his 
' name, which would die away in the shadow of the 
grave, like the echo of the songs of love ;" of the 
" glancing of the moonbeams upon the silver stream 


of the Pegnitz :" and of himself in his seventeenth 
year, as " a half-blown rose on a beautiful morning in 
spring." Who could have recognised the murderer 
Forster in the following passages ? " Ah ! for one 
thing I praise God," says he in his preface, apostro- 
phizing Margaretha ; " for this, that our child, the 
first fruit of our love, sleeps the sleep of peace ! When 
he was torn from me I accused Heaven, and could not 
understand the inscrutable ways of God, but mur- 
mured against him. But now I shed tears of joy that 
he is safe, and I pluck the flowers of the valley to 
weave fresh garlands for his grave. Ah ! do you 
remember how I planted the forget-me-nots upon 
his little green grave ? Then my heart knew not 
God, and my tears flowed in the violence of my 
sorrow. I thought myself the most miserable of men. 
I now understand things better." No man who really 
feels thus can murder. Passages like these and 
there are many such merely prove the utter cor- 
ruption of one who, cold and hardened as he was, 
could use the language of the most devout piety and 
ape the most tender sensibility. The high prin- 
ciple and love of virtue, of which he boasts, are as 
false as his sentiment. He could not have forgotten, 
while writing, that he was then in prison for theft, 
and yet he has the shameless effrontery to write these 
words in his preface : " Oh, Margaretha ! tell our 
daughter what present help in trouble is the inno- 
cence of the heart : how it inspires us with heroic 
strength to support the heaviest affliction." Who 
would not attribute the following phrase to a philo- 
sopher rather than to a housebreaker? " I know not 
which best deserves the name of heroism, that 


courage which enables a man to conceal his woes 
within his own breast, in order to spare pain and 
sorrow to others ; or that which induces him to sacri- 
fice himself for the preservation of another." 

Religion had no real influence on his mind. His 
conviction, as he declared to a fellow-prisoner, was 
that religion was necessary for the sake of public 
order. He neither hoped nor wished for a future 
life, for all his desires centred in the pleasures of 
this world. " Had I but money and my mistress, 
I should wish to remain for ever in this world, and 
never think about another. The wisest philosophers 
and the greatest naturalists and magicians have ever 
devoted their skill and their knowledge to the art of 
prolonging human life. They would not have done 
this, had they thought there was a future life." This 
was the confession of faith made by him to another 
fellow-prisoner. Nevertheless, his knowledge of the 
Bible might shame many a clergyman, and in his 
autobiography he quotes passages from the sacred 
volume, just as he does phrases from romances and 
stanzas from love poems, but more frequently and 
with greater ostentation. When he wishes to marry, 
but resolves first to consider the matter more deeply, 
he refers himself to the twenty-seventh and following 
verses of the twenty-fifth chapter of Jesus Sirach. 
When in prison, he complains with Job x. 19. 
When released from gaol he exclaims with Daniel xvi. 
22, " My God hath sent his angels and hath shut 
the lions' mouth, that they have not hurt me : for- 
asmuch as before him innocency was found in me; 
and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt." 
Once, he informs us, as he was going through a wood 


with a man who intended to rob him or, as is far 
more likely, whom he intended to rob he recited 
the fourth verse of the seventy-first Psalm : " Deliver 
me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked ; out of 
the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man." He then 
suddenly called to mind the passage in the second 
book of Moses, xxi. 23-25, " And if any mischief 
follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for 
eye, tooth for tooth," &c.; and encouraged thereby, he 
took the initiative in attacking the robber. Two 
other robbers then came to their comrade's assistance, 
and began unmercifully to belabour the pious Forster 
with their clubs, while he sang Luther's hymn 

" I know not, Lord, where I may die, 
Nor where my grave may be." 

But at length, though terribly bruised, he escaped, 
and reached a village, where a peasant whom he en- 
treated to give him a night's lodging, refused him 
without mercy; whereupon he with the greatest civility 
recommended the man to read and carefully consider 
the nineteenth and following verses of the sixteenth 
chapter of St. Luke. 

But false as he is in everything else, his entire 
devotion to Margaret Preiss cannot be doubted. She 
occupies a place in the romance of his life as promi- 
nent as his own. Neither time, misfortune, absence, 
disgrace, nor imprisonment was able to overcome their 
mutual attachment. In spite of all impediments he 
had never abandoned the intention of making this 
woman his wife. He had tattooed on his breast in 
red letters these words, " My heart is Margaretha's." 
In the fortress of Lichtenau, where he was to pass his 


life loaded with chains, he said to a fellow-prisoner, 
" There is but one thing I wish to see my mistress 
once more, and die." In his Life he apostrophizes her 
as "his wife;" "his noble, true-hearted creature;" 
" the beloved wife of his youth ;" " a pious, gentle 
spirit, who loved him as only angels love ;" " the 
faithful companion of his journey through life." In 
his preface he longs " to be buried by her side, bedews 
her hair with his tears, and presses it to his parched 

For years Forster has borne in dogged silence the 
hardships of imprisonment, the misery of civil death, 
the burden of his chains, and the still heavier burden 
of a troubled conscience. This unbending obstinacy 
is no doubt owing partly to great want of sensibility, 
partly to prodigious bodily power of endurance, and 
partly to a cowardly clinging to life, however wretched 
and degraded, characteristic of the most contemptible 
sensualists. He may perhaps also have flattered him- 
self with the vague hope that his punishment was 
only inflicted in order to extort from him a confession, 
and that determined silence would in the end tire out 
the patience of the court and procure his libera- 
tion. But what chiefly strengthened him in this re- 
solution were his romantic ideas of the heroic great- 
ness displayed in his own person. At Lichtenau, 
before his solitary cell was ready to receive him, 
while he was with the other prisoners, one of them 
exhorted him to confess ; but he replied, " Steadfast- 
ness of purpose is the chief ornament of a man ! He 
should not easily give up life : however wretched, 
life is a noble thing. Believe me, comrade, whenever 
I look upon my chains and the ball attached to them, 


I feel proud to think that even on my death-bed 
my last breath shall be drawn with courage. In 
my earliest days, whatever I undertook, that I did. 
As I said before, steadfastness and secrecy are what 
adorn a man." He treated his heavy chains as a 
badge of honour, and polished them in his leisure 
hours till they shone like silver. During the early pe- 
riod of his imprisonment at Lichtenau, where the 
most distinguished villains enthusiastically admired 
and revered him, he condescended to amuse them 
with stories of enchanted princes and princesses, 
fortunate robbers, &c., to shorten their long dreary 
evening hours. But one evening he suddenly declared, 
" Gentlemen, from this time forward I shall tell you 
no more stories : in future I will say nothing but 
yea, yea, nay, nay. I see plainly that things look ill 
with me, and that among the worst I am supposed to 
be the worst of all." One of his fellow-prisoners asked 
him whether any one had forbidden him to speak, 
or whether he had taken offence ? But he answered, 
" No one but my own soul, and that has never coun- 
selled me amiss." Pride kept him true to his word : 
from that time forward he told no more stories, and 
answered only in monosyllables. Thus he stood alone, 
distinguished from the common herd of malefactors. 
He maintained this sullen silence for years in his 
solitary cell, asking nothing, and uttering no com- 
plaint. He took what was offered to him, suffered 
any thing to be taken from him, bore every thing in 
sullen silence and with apparent calmness. He even 
managed to give an appearance of quiet submission 
to the obstinate resistance which he offered to the 
orders of his superiors. Some task which was im- 


posed upon him seemed to him too hard ; he left it 
untouched. On being asked the reason, he quietly 
answered that he was unable to perform it. When 
told that if it were not done they would be com- 
pelled to punish him, he replied with perfect cool- 
ness that he could not perform impossibilities, and 
that they might do as they pleased with his body. 
He offered his back to the lash with perfect indif- 
ference, received the severest blows without moving a 
muscle or uttering a sound, returned to his cell just 
as if nothing had happened, and left the work undone 
as before. Exhortations and repeated chastisements 
were of no avail ; the authorities were at length forced 
by his iron obstinacy to give him some other work 
that he liked better and which he most regularly per- 
formed ever after. He frequently read the hymn-book 
in prison ; listened to the sermon on Sundays, though 
without much appearance of interest ; received the 
sacrament like the other convicts, whom he far sur- 
passed in religious knowledge ; and, with a double 
murder on his conscience, played the part of a patient, 
humble, and resigned martyr to truth. He care- 
fully avoided making any statement respecting his 
crime ; and whoever questioned him at all on the 
subject was either civilly yet earnestly entreated to 
refrain from all such inquiries, or was put off with 
mysterious complaints of the terrible destiny which 
forced him for ever to conceal a dark secret, on the re- 
velation of which his innocence would instantly shine 
forth like the sun at noonday. When hard pressed, 
he sometimes began to relate the romance of the 
Schlemmers, and accused the Niirnberg people as 
the real authors of his misfortune, because the cry 


of murderer ! murderer ! with which they assailed 
him had induced him to pretend ignorance of what 
had happened, which first and only falsehood had 
induced his judge to disbelieve his subsequent true 
narrative, and had finally brought him to these chains. 
Hardened as he was, however, it appears that he did 
not altogether escape from the pangs of a guilty con- 
science : he frequently sighed deeply ; and once, when 
a lawyer well acquainted with the whole case visited 
him in prison, vividly represented to him the heinous- 
ness of his crime, spoke to him of the heavy burden 
on his conscience, far heavier to bear in silence than 
the weight of his chains and then proceeded to de- 
scribe the bloody scene of the 20th September, 1820, 
and to bring before him the victims bleeding under the 
axe, and trodden under his feet, the sullen coun- 
tenance of the prisoner suddenly flushed scarlet, and 
one present thought he saw tears in his eyes. Some 
months after this visit, an organ was placed in the 
chapel of the prison, and the sacrament administered 
on the occasion. Forster, who had hitherto always 
displayed the most callous indifference, was now 
deeply affected. On approaching the altar, support- 
ing his chains and the bullet in both arms, he trembled 
in every limb, tears gushed from his eyes, and his 
loud sobs filled the chapel. What he thought or felt, 
whether the notes of the organ pealed in his ear like 
the " Dies ira3, Dies ilia," could not be discovered. 
When he returned to his cell he was sullen and impe- 
netrable as before. 

Forster's countenance is vulgar and heavy. The 
lower part of his long narrow face is of a length 


strangely disproportioned to the upper ; this gives a 
revolting animal expression to his whole countenance, 
which is singularly harsh, and so unvarying that his 
head is like a marble bust, lifeless but for two large 
prominent eyes, which are usually fixed on the ground, 
and filled with rage and despair. 

(49 ) 




Ax four o'clock in the evening of the 26th November, 
1809, Joseph Antonini and his wife Theresa, both 
dressed as postilions d'armee in the French service, 
drove up to the door of the post-house at Maitingen 
near Augsburg, accompanied by a beautiful young 
woman called Dorothea Blankenfeld. They arrived 
in a carriage, had a French passport (feuille de 
route), and took rooms at the inn. The landlord 
showed them into two adjoining rooms on the first 
floor, one of which was occupied by Blankenfeld, the 
other, containing two beds, by the Antoninis. Shortly 
after their arrival a boy joined them, who was not, 
however, again seen in the house until the following 
morning. This was Carl Marschall, the brother of 
Antonini's wife. 

About three or four in the morning, the postmaster 
and a postboy heard a piercing shriek, like that of a 
child. The former jumped out of bed and listened 
at the door, but lay down again on hearing nothing 
further. Soon after, the boy Carl Marschall ran 
hastily down the stairs, covering his face with his 
hands as if he were crying, and complained to the 
postboy that his master (Antonini) had beaten him. 


At about six Antonini went into the postboy's room 
with a light, and requested him to make a large 
fire in the stove above stairs, as it was bitterly cold. 
His hand was stained with blood, but the postboy 
thought nothing of this, and merely supposed that 
Antonini had made the boy's nose bleed by striking 

On the previous evening the strangers had an- 
nounced their intention of starting at five in the 
morning. But it was past nine before they were 
ready to go. The postmaster, who was standing at 
the window, observed how busy they were; and his 
attention was attracted by a large strangely shaped 
bundle which Antonini and the boy dragged out of 
the house and flung into the carriage : it looked, 
he thought, just like the carcass of a dead dog, or 
of a human being. At last Antonini, the boy Carl 
Marschall, and Theresa Antonini, who was now 
dressed in women's clothes, got into the carriage and 
drove away. At that moment the thought struck the 
postmaster's son, who was already surprised by The- 
resa's change of dress, that the young woman who 
had arrived with the party on the evening before, had 
not got into the carriage. This alarmed the people 
of the house, who hastened to the two rooms which 
had been occupied by the strangers. The first look 
showed them, by the stains of blood on the floor, the 
wall, and the bed, that a murder had been committed. 
They instantly informed the local authorities of the 
fact, and the carriage, which had scarcely gone more 
than four hundred yards from the door when the dis- 
covery was made, was immediately followed, and 
overtaken under the gates of Augsburg. The sus- 


picious-looking bundle wrapped in a blue cloak, 
which had been put inside the carriage at Maitingen, 
was now tied up behind it. When opened it was 
found to contain the body of a woman covered with 

When it was shown by the police to the three pri- 
soners, they recognised it as the body of Dorothea 
Blankenfeld, who had travelled with them as far as 
Maitingen, and on seeing it the boy at once confessed 
that he and his brother-in-law Antonini had mur- 
dered the woman. Antonini and his wife denied 
that they had any share in the crime. They said 
that the boy had murdered her from hatred, and 
without their knowledge ; and that it was only out 
of charity to him that they had concealed the deed, 
but that the boy was a hardened villain, who had 
already attempted to kill his father and to stab his 
sister, and that Antonini had taken him away from 
Berlin in the hope of reforming him. 

On inspecting the body, the hands were found 
much bruised and swollen, the collar-bone broken, 
and nine wounds, apparently inflicted with some 
blunt instrument, on the brow and other parts of 
the head quite sufficient, in the physician's opinion, 
to cause death. He nevertheless asserted that the 
wretched woman had not died immediately of her 
wounds, but had perished gradually under continued 

The boy had openly confessed his share in the 
murder, but for a long time the Antoninis obsti- 
nately persisted in denial. Carl, they said, had done 
it all. They continued to deny everything save the 
concealment of the murder, of which they were con- 


victed by the clearest proof. At last, after nineteen 
long examinations, Theresa Antonini, on being con- 
fronted with her brother, confessed the main points of 
her own share in the deed. Antonini, whose cunning 
equalled his obstinacy, endeavoured, after long though 
vain denial, to deceive the judge by a variety of false 
confessions, till at length he was confronted with his 
wife, and forced to confess the truth, though still in a 
disjointed manner. 

Joseph Antonini, a man about thirty years of age, 
was born, according to his own account, at Messina, 
where his parents carried on the trade of cloth- 
weavers. He stated himself to be a barber by trade. 
He related that in his eleventh or twelfth year he 
sailed to Naples to be present at the feast of the Holy 
Grotto, and that during this voyage he was unfortu- 
nately taken by an Algerine corsair, which was again 
captured in the roads of Alexandria by a French ship 
of war. He thus obtained his freedom, and was 
landed in Greece. The first portion of his life was as 
romantic as the rest was strange, dark, and varied. 
At one time he was a drummer in the Corsican bat- 
talion under the French, then a laquais de place, 
then a sutler, and lastly a French postilion d'armee. 
He had been twice in prison at Berlin : once on sus- 
picion of theft, by command of the French authorities, 
who transferred him to Mayence ; and a second time, 
together with his wife, by order of the Berlin police, 
for having in their possession various articles of which 
they could give no satisfactory account. They were, 
however, released after eight days' confinement; and 
within a few weeks they committed this cruel murder 
on the unfortunate Blankenfeld. The following cir- 


cumstance, however, joined with the history of his 
chequered life and the character he bore before the 
murder of Blankenfeld, shows that in all probability 
this was not the first crime Antonini had committed. 
Whenever Antonini and his wife quarrelled, the latter 
always called him a thief and an incendiary, and the 
passionate Sicilian bore it in patient silence. He told 
his companions in gaol that he had once stolen three 
hundred louis d'or and some valuable rings, and had 
not only broken out of prison at Erfurt, but had also 
effected the escape of his fellow-prisoners. His con- 
duct on examination, and during his imprisonment 
at Augsburg, showed boundless cunning and malice. 
To relate how by cunning, force, and bribery he en- 
deavoured to effect his escape, how he contrived to 
steal out of his cell in order to ascertain the state of 
the proceedings against him, how he plotted with 
his fellow-prisoners to escape, how he wrote to his 
wife, urging her to persist in a denial of her guilt, 
and how he at length attempted to destroy himself, 
all this would be beyond the scope of the present 

Carl Marschall and Theresa Antonini, the former 
not quite fifteen, the latter about twenty-six, were the 
children of a certain John Christian Marschall, a very 
poor but honest workman in a manufactory at Berlin. 
Carl, according to the unanimous testimony of his 
parents, schoolmasters, and acquaintance, was a good- 
humoured and remarkably docile boy, always anxious 
to please and to do what he was bid. On the other 
hand, Theresa was described by her own parents as a 
wild, obstinate, malignant, and dissolute girl. Advice 
and punishment alike failed to bend her stubborn 


will or to mend her morals. She showed neither 
love nor honour to her parents, nor obedience or 
respect to those she served. At Berlin she became 
acquainted with Antonini, then a postilion d'armee in 
the French service, and married him at Kustrin, in 
1806. Their life is involved in mystery from that 
time till 1809, when they visited Theresa's parents 
and were arrested by the Berlin police for having in 
their possession suspicious property. From Berlin 
Antonini wished to return home to Messina with his 
wife, and persuaded Carl to accompany them and 
to take care of his horse during the journey. The 
parents refused their permission; but the boy, thus 
placed between obedience to his father and mother 
and the more attractive scheme of the Italian, natu- 
rally chose the latter, and was taken from his parents 
against their will and almost by force. It is worthy 
of notice that the old father, when informed of 
the charge against his children, wrote a touching 
letter to the magistrates of Augsburg begging the life 
of his poor misguided boy, and of the boy alone ; 
even the father's heart could find nothing to say in 
favour of his daughter. 

Dorothea Blankenfeld, born at Friedland, of parents 
in the middle class of life, was a beautiful girl, scarce 
four-and-twenty, of spotless reputation, and a kind 
and gentle disposition. She left Danzig in November, 
1809, on her way to Vienna to join her lover, a French 
commissaire ordonnateur, to whom she was about to 
be married. The secretary to the French commissaire, 
Mons. Gentil, to whom she was recommended at 
Dresden, had taken a room for her at the Hotel de 
Baviere, and there she waited for a convenient oppor- 


tunity to continue her journey. This soon presented 
itself, but for her destruction. 

Two persons, giving their names as Antoine (Anto- 
nini) and Schulz, and stating themselves to be French 
postilions d'armee, appeared before the above-named 
secretary, provided with the proper recommendation 
from the commandant at Dresden, and demanded a 
passport for the army. Mons. Gentil immediately 
acquainted Dorothea Blankenfeld with this cheap and 
safe opportunity for continuing her journey, and 
offered to insert her name in the feuille de route. She 
gladly accepted the offer, and after staying three or 
four days at Dresden, she started in a carriage with 
these people. 

The feuille de route named Sieur Antoine, Sieur 
Schulz, and Dame Blankenfeld. Meanwhile Carl, 
who had first assumed the name of Schulz, changed 
characters with his sister, who was not mentioned in 
the passport, and she now got into the carriage 
dressed in men's clothes, under the name of Schulz ; 
while Carl acted as a servant to the party, in which 
capacity he contrived to get through everywhere with 
the rest. 

Dorothea Blankenfeld was well provided with money 
and property. Her trunk was full of good clothes and 
fine linen, and she had 2000 thalers sewed in her 
stays. The Antoninis did not know this at first, but 
Blankenfeld's fashionable dress, and the rank of her 
acquaintances at Dresden, led them to suspect enough 
to be a strong temptation to villainy. 

Antonini and his wife were very ill provided with 
money for their journey. They wanted to reach 
Messina, and Antonini had but a few thalers in his 


pocket. It is impossible to avoid suspecting that in 
undertaking the journey with such utterly insufficient 
resources, they must have relied on obtaining money 
by dishonest means on the road. One cannot be- 
lieve that Antonini, who had not nearly enough for 
himself and his wife, would have burdened himself 
with the additional expense of young Carl, merely 
for the sake of giving the boy pleasure, or for the 
use he might be of as a groom. Was it not far 
more likely that he took the boy with the intention of 
making him a tool and a scape-goat for his crimes ? 
The feigned name of Schulz which was given to Carl, 
Theresa's disguise and subsequent change of parts 
with her brother, make this extremely probable. 
This masquerading and changing of names and per- 
sons was excellently contrived to help them through 
difficulties and to mislead the police. Moreover, the 
thought of murdering Blankenfeld seems to have 
struck the Antoninis so soon, and to have been so 
quickly resolved into a settled plan, that one can hardly 
resist the inference that the idea of procuring money 
for their journey by some crime had been all along 
firmly fixed in their minds, and only waited for an 
opportunity to be carried into execution. 

They had left Dresden but a few posts behind them, 
when Antonini acquainted his wife with his intention 
of murdering Blankenfeld, in order to obtain pos- 
session of her property. Theresa, far from raising 
any objections, approved highly of the plan. They 
immediately took young Carl into their confidence, 
telling him in a few words that " Dorothea Blanken- 
feld must and should be murdered." 

The docile boy had nothing to say against it, and 


was ready to do their bidding in all things. Thus the 
main point was settled at once, and nothing remained 
but to determine the how, when, and where. 

On so long a journey some favourable opportunity 
could not fail to present itself, and to that they re- 
solved to trust. From this time forward these three 
people were incessantly occupied in seeking opportu- 
nities and devising means of murder and conceal- 
ment of their crime. Each strove to surpass the 
others in zeal, activity, and ingenuity. The whole 
journey was one continued attempt to destroy the in- 
nocent and unsuspecting Blankenfeld. Each succeed- 
ing failure incited them to fresh attempts. Their night 
quarters were always selected with a view to the execu- 
tion of their project ; and every night, while the ill- 
starred girl slept unconscious of her impending fate, 
death threatened her in one form or another. Nothing 
but accident diverted the murderers from their plan, 
until it was executed at Maitingen. 

At Hof, Antonini devised a plan for stifling Blan- 
kenfeld with smoke while she slept. But his wife 
raised some objections to it. She thought the idea a 
good one, but too uncertain. This plan, therefore, 
was not even attempted. 

The next sleeping-place between Hof and Baireuth, 
probably Berneck, appeared peculiarly well suited for 
the execution of their scheme. The village itself lies 
in a hollow at the entrance of the Fichtelgebirge ; the 
inn was lonely, out of the way, and stood just at the 
foot of a mountain covered with wood. Thus the 
deed might have been committed in security, and the 
dead body buried during the night on the mountain. 
But Theresa Antonini had appeared at Berneck in 


women's clothes, and not as a postilion, so that the 
people of the inn had seen two women arrive ; and 
the Antoninis feared that if only one left the inn on the 
following morning it might excite suspicion. This 
excellent opportunity was thus lost. 

On the following night, at Baireuth, matters be- 
came still more serious. Antonini returned to his ori- 
ginal scheme of stifling Blankenfeld with smoke, and 
talked of making holes in the stove of her room, and 
then heating it with damp straw.* But Theresa 
repeated her former objection, that the result was 
uncertain ; Blankenfeld might awake, and open her 
window to get rid of the smoke. It was therefore 
finally resolved to kill her by blows. Carl was ordered 
to provide himself with a good club, and to have 
plenty of water ready to wash away the blood. But 
Blankenfeld was again protected by some chance 
which prevented the murder. 

The Antoninis had thus lost three days. Expe- 
rience had taught them that the execution of their 
design was not so easy as they had at first imagined. 
They saw difficulties and dangers before them to 
which they did not choose to expose themselves for a 
trifling gain. They accordingly determined, before 
proceeding with their perilous undertaking, to con- 
vince themselves that their risk and trouble would 
be sufficiently rewarded. A little village between 
Baireuth and Niirnberg most likely Leopoldstein 
was selected for this purpose. Blankenfeld here 
ordered some negus, into which Antonini contrived 
to pour opium. When she was in bed and fast asleep, 
the keys were taken from under her pillow, and her 

The German stoves are supplied with fuel outside the room. 


trunks opened and examined by Antonini and his 
wife. They found in them no money, but plenty of 
fine linen, good men's and women's clothes, and a 
few jewels. "At all events," said Antonini, " it is 
worth while to kill her." Hereupon they replaced 
every thing with the utmost care, locked the trunks, 
and put back the keys under her pillow. This was 
sufficient for that night. 

The following day found them at Niirnberg, again 
debating how they might kill Blankenfeld. The 
many streams of water which run through the city 
afforded favourable opportunities for getting rid of 
the body; but a sentinel, who stood opposite the 
inn, was an insurmountable obstacle. Carl, who en- 
deavoured to deserve the trust reposed in him, not 
only by obedience, but occasionally by advice and 
suggestion, proposed to mix pounded glass in Blan- 
kenfeld's soup, and thus to do the deed quietly. But 
Antonini rejected the scheme as inefficient; he had 
often swallowed broken glass himself in sport, with no 
ill effect. Blankenfeld thus escaped once more. 

From Niirnberg they went to the small manufac- 
turing town of Roth, which they reached towards 
nightfall. The active, watchful Theresa discovered 
a mattock, with three iron prongs, in the loft, and 
showed it to her husband and Carl with the words, 
" That would give a deadly blow." Carl, who was 
the one selected to do the deed, secretly conveyed this 
instrument into the bed-room, and hid it behind the 
stove. His sister, meanwhile, instructed him how to 
use it. Another sleeping-draught was administered 
to Blankenfeld, and nothing more was wanting but 
to find a place of concealment for the dead body. 


Carl and Antonini went out separately to reconnoitre : 
the former discovered a hole in a field, which might 
do; the latter chose a pool of water in the neighbour- 
hood. But all was again in vain. Accident had 
brought a number of carriers to the inn, whose eyes 
and ears might have been awkward witnesses : the 
murder was, therefore, again deferred. 

They encountered similar impediments on the two 
following nights, which they passed at Weissenberg 
and Donauwbrth, on the road between Roth and 

Time now pressed, for Blankenfeld was to leave 
them at Augsburg, and they were to pass only one 
more night on the road before reaching it. Now, 
then, or never, the plan must be carried into execu- 

During the last post before Maitingen, Antonini ex- 
ercised all his ingenuity to ascertain from Blankenfeld 
whether she had money or valuables concealed else- 
where than in her trunk. He turned the conversation 
on the Tyrolese insurgents, and the dangers which 
she might encounter. He said that the Tyrolese had 
already penetrated into Swabia and Bavaria, where 
they committed all sorts of cruelties and murders for 
the sake of the most trifling booty. By these exagge- 
rated statements, he excited the imagination of the un- 
suspecting girl to such a degree, that at length, losing all 
prudence in her terror, she put her hand to her breast 
and said, " Ah ! I will give the Tyrolese all this most 
willingly, if they will only spare my life!" Had any 
scruples still lurked in the minds of the Sicilian and 
his wife, this discovery would have dissipated them. 
The prospect of a rich booty determined them to run 


all hazards, and they arrived at Maitingen firmly 
resolved that their intended victim should die that 

Antonini and his wife had calculated that if so young 
a lad as Carl committed the murder alone, he would 
relieve them of the greater part of the guilt, without 
incurring capital punishment himself. They hoped 
to secure themselves by throwing the whole blame 
upon him. They had accordingly drawn him into the 
plot from the very beginning, and the execution of 
the murder was now intrusted to him at Maitingen, 
as it had been before. At this last place they did 
everything in their power to inflame his young 
blood, and to inspire him with courage and deter- 
mination. The boy, equally docile for good or for 
evil, blindly followed Antonini's orders, and regarded 
the murder of an innocent girl as a commonplace event. 
No feelings of compassion, no pangs of conscience, 
seem to have touched him in favour of one who had 
treated him with uniform kindness during the jour- 
ney ; nor had he any fear of detection or punishment. 
He only hesitated from fear that his strength was 
not equal to the undertaking ; but his sister promised 
him all her husband's clothes as a reward for the 
deed, and Antonini said he would assist him, if neces- 
sary, as soon as the first blow had been struck. 

Carl had discovered in the post-house a large roller 
weighing about four pounds, which he thought might 
serve their purpose, and had concealed it in Antonini's 
bed-room. He was then sent out to dig a hole in a 
dunghill, in which to conceal the body ; but in this he 
did not succeed. Antonini secretly bought some 
candles, so as to have a light all night, and some 


brandy. After supper he persuaded her to drink some 
of the brandy, with which he had mixed laudanum ; 
and at about eight o'clock she went half stupified to 
bed in her own room, leaving the door open between 
herself and the Antoninis. Warm water was then 
procured, under the pretence of a foot-bath, to wash 
away the blood, and the outer door was locked and 

About midnight Carl stole into Blankenfeld's room 
to see how she lay. She slept, heavily, but her posi- 
tion was by no means favourable for their purpose, as 
her face was turned towards the wall. 

While the murderers were waiting for her to move 
into a more convenient posture, it struck Antonini that 
it would be better to kill the sleeping woman by less 
violent means than blows on the head, and he pro- 
posed to pour melted lead into her ears, or, as Carl 
suggested, into her eyes. They broke a pewter spoon 
into small pieces, which they melted in an iron one 
over the candle. But a drop which fell upon the 
sheet and merely scorched it, proved to the murderers 
that melted pewter cooled too soon for their purpose. 
This plan was therefore abandoned, and they deter- 
mined to abide by their original intention. 

At about four Carl again stole into the room, and 
found Blankenfeld lying on her back asleep, with her 
head towards him. " Now," said Antonini, " is the 
proper moment," and went up to the bed. Carl followed 
him with the heavy roller, and when urged to strike 
the blow he raised the murderous instrument, but hesi- 
tated, trembled, and drew back in alarm. Antonini 
whispered to him some words of reproach, seized his 
hand which clasped the weapon, gave it a proper 


direction over their victim's head, and the first blow 
fell upon the forehead of Blankenfeld, who exclaimed, 
"Jesus! my head!" and raised herself in bed. At 
this moment Antonini seized her by the shoulders, 
and Theresa by the feet; the unhappy girl now 
began to cry, and offered her murderers everything 
she possessed, if they would but spare her young life. 
Pity, fear, and horror seized upon Carl, who hastily 
flung the weapon upon the floor, and ran to the door 
to escape. But Antonini's wife rushed after him, 
dragged him back into the room, and, placing the 
roller in his hand, ordered him to complete his task. 
He again stepped up to the bed, and aimed a second 
blow at Blankenfeld's head, which struck Antonini's 
forehead at the same time, and Carl again threw down 
the roller and ran away, while the pain of the blow 
forced Antonini to let go Blankenfeld, who collected 
all her strength, jumped out of bed, and rushed 
towards the door of the outer room. But Antonini 
fiercely pursued her, and struck blow after blow on her 
head till she sank upon the floor, where he still con- 
tinued to strike her. As she lay on the ground with 
the death-rattle in her throat, Antonini tore off her 
clothes and the stays which contained her money. He 
then lifted the dying woman on his shoulders, intend- 
ing to carry her out into the yard and bury her in the 
dungheap. But the weight was too much for him, 
and Theresa dissuaded him. They therefore took her 
back into her own room. But the wretched woman 
still breathed, and again began to groan. " The carrion 
is coming to life again," exclaimed Theresa. Anto- 
nini then stood upon Blankenfeld's body and trampled 
on it with both feet until she was dead. The corpse 


was then by Theresa's advice thrust into a sack and 
rolled up in a coverlet. In order to be perfectly secure 
Antonini took the further precaution of tying a cord 
tightly round her neck, while Theresa was busily em- 
ployed in washing away as much as she could of the 
bloody stains. She then prepared for the journey by 
taking off her postilion's dress and putting on the 
clothes which Blankenfeld had worn on the previous 

This is the connected narrative of the transaction, 
as repeatedly and circumstantially confessed by Carl 

Theresa Antonini acknowledged the truth of Carl's 
statement on most points ; but, when confronted 
with her brother, she so stoutly denied having held 
Blankenfeld's feet, as to make Carl hesitate and con- 
clude himself mistaken. But on his fourteenth exa- 
mination he returned to his former charge, and confi- 
dently asserted that his sister held Blankenfeld's feet ; 
at all events, while he struck the second blow. On a 
second confrontation, Theresa persisted in her denial ; 
and when Carl repeated his statement she grew vio- 
lent, attempted to strike him, swore she would be 
revenged on him, and cursed him and her parents. 
We can only account for Theresa's denial of this one 
circumstance, on the supposition that she entertained 
the vulgar notion that the other charges against her, 
the truth of which she had confessed, would not be 
punished with death, provided she could prove that 
she had not laid hands upon the murdered woman. 

Antonini himself, in all his examinations and con- 
frontations with Carl and Theresa, never made a clear 
arid connected confession. 


In his first twelve examinations he threw the whole 
blame on Carl, and asserted that he himself had had 
no share in or even knowledge of the murder. 

In his thirteenth audience, which he demanded, 
he unintentionally confessed something by relating the 
following tale : " That he had been awakened in the 


night by his wife, who told him there was a noise in 
the next room, and that she thought some one was 
attempting suicide. He jumped out of bed, and on 
entering Blankenfeld's room received a blow on the 
head. While in the act of parrying a second, the 
club with which he had been struck fell into his hand. 
He seized it and gave a violent blow, he knew not 
to whom, for the room was pitchy dark, and he was 
half stunned. He then struck towards the other side 
of the room, but encountered nothing. He shortly 
afterwards discovered that Blankenfeld had been mur- 
dered by Carl." 

In his fourteenth examination, which he also de- 
manded, he gave a second version totally different 
from the first. He said that at about five in the morn- 
ing a chaise arrived at the post-house : thinking it 
was theirs, he awakened Carl, and told him to call 
Blankenfeld. Soon after he heard angry words, and 
then blows. He jumped out of bed and went into her 
room, where he found her fighting with Carl. He 
tried to separate them, but received a kick from 
Blankenfeld which sent him reeling against the bed. 
He called out, ' Carl, help me !' and the lad then re- 
doubled his blows. Anger then took possession of 
me," said Antonini, " and I wrested the club out of 
Carl's hands and struck Blankenfeld three or four 
blows, whereupon she fell dead on the floor." It was 



not till afterwards that he discovered for desire of 
gain was not the motive of his crime that Blanken- 
feld had money concealed about her person, which how- 
ever he appropriated to himself. He confirmed this 
confession in his fifteenth examination ; adding, that he 
had no intention of killing Blankenfeld ; that he had 
struck about him wildly, and might have hit her on 
the body as well as the head. This he improved into 
a statement that his agitation had prevented him from 
seeing whether he struck Carl or Blankenfeld. 

In his nineteenth examination he came somewhat 
nearer the truth. He stated that " During the jour- 
ney they had constantly quarrelled with Blankenfeld. 
As he had spent his own money, and had frequently 
paid for her, Carl suggested to him that 'As 
Blankenfeld had a good deal of money in her pos- 
session, why not kill her on the road ? No one 
would observe it, as Theresa might pass for her.' 
But he (Antonini) and his wife had refused to agree 
to this, whenever it was proposed. At Maitingen, 
Carl came to him during the night with the club in 
his hand, and awoke him, saying, ' that he was de- 
termined to kill Blankenfeld, come what might.' He 
(Antonini) represented to him that this was not to 
be done in a place where it would be sure to be 
discovered, and to get them all three into mischief. 
Hereupon he went to sleep, but was awakened by 
the sound of blows, and on running into Blankenfeld's 
room he caught hold of some one, who turned out 
to be Blankenfeld, and found his hands covered 
with her blood. Carl still continued to strike her, 
but he (Antonini) exclaimed, ' My God ! my God ! 
Carl ! and, Jet go Blankenfeld.' He then wrested 


the weapon out of Carl's hands, and struck Blan- 
kenfeld three blows more, which felled her to the 
ground, but did not intentionally strike her on the 
head. He must, however, confess that during the 
journey he had thought of killing her, in order 
to possess himself of her money; but his wife had 
always dissuaded him, and that he certainly should 
not have killed her had not Carl struck the first 
blow. He added, that on his entrance into Blanken- 
feld's room, he had stumbled; and, half stunned 
by that, and by a knock he received on the head 
when he quitted his hold of Blankenfeld, he only 
discovered, after giving the third blow, that it was 
Blankenfeld whom he had struck. It was not until 
after she was dead that he knew anything of the 
money concealed about her person." 

The twentieth examination elicited from him the 
following circumstance : That at Maitingen, im- 
mediately before the deed, Carl represented to him 
their wretched condition, and again urged him 
to kill Blankenfeld, and take her money. When 
he objected from fear of discovery, Carl pro- 
posed to him to pour melted pewter into Blan- 
kenfeld's ears. He agreed; but on attempting to 
hold the spoon over the candle, his hand shook so 
violently that the spoon fell upon the ground, and 
he told Carl that he never could do such a deed. He 
then repeated much the same version of the murder 
as before. 

Neither the subsequent examinations nor repeated 
confrontation with Carl, produced a clearer confession. 
It was only on being brought face to face with his 
wife, who coaxed him to confess the truth, that he 



conceded some few points : but he never made a com- 
plete and repentant confession. 

Joseph Antonini and his wife Maria Theresa were 
sentenced by the court at Niirnberg to death by the 
sword. Carl Franz Ludwig Marschall, in considera- 
tion of his youth, was condemned to ten years' im- 
prisonment with hard labour. 

Antonini escaped 'his well-deserved punishment by 
dying in prison ; but his wife mounted the scaffold, 
and died as she had lived, bold, hardened, and un- 




FRANCIS SALESIUS RIEMBAUER was born on the 27th 
January, 1770, in the market-town of Langquaid 
(circuit of Pfaffenberg). He was the son of a poor 
day-labourer, and began life as a shepherd-boy: he 
early displayed considerable talents and a strong- 
desire for knowledge, and soon conceived the ambi- 
tion of studying for the church. In his thirteenth 
year he fell upon his knees before the priest of his 
parish, whom he implored to give him the instruction 
required to prepare him for the gymnasium of the 
town. The boy made such rapid progress that within 
the year he was received into that school. After re- 
maining there a short time he was admitted into the 
gymnasium of Ratisbon. Here his good behaviour, 
diligence, and rapid progress, gained him the cha- 
racter of an admirable student who would one day 
do honour to the church and to himself. His know- 
ledge of ecclesiastical law and history was consider- 
able. He chiefly devoted himself to the study of 
dialectics and casuistry, in which ne selected as his 
guide the works of P. Benedict Stattler. In 1795 
he took holy orders at Ratisbon, and for many years 
served different parish churches in succession. At 


Christmas, 1815, he was translated to Pirkwang, 
where he had charge of the Filial Church at Ober- 
Lauterbach. He remained there for two years ; and 
in 1807 passed his examination, as candidate for a 
cure, with great honour at Munich, and was appointed 
parish-priest at Priel on the 18th March, 1808, from 
whence, two years later, he was translated to Nan- 

From the commencement of his ecclesiastical ca- 
reer, he was so remarkable for his talents and virtues 
as to be held up as a model to other priests. His 
stately figure and handsome face, his persuasive elo- 
quence and insinuating manners, gained him general 
good will. He performed his clerical duties with 
punctuality, dignity, and grace, and his outward de- 
meanour was decorum itself. His leisure hours at 
least until his removal to Pirkwang, where the pur- 
chase of a small property involved him in agricultural 
pursuits were passed in reading and study. And 
when those priests to whom he was attached as 
chaplain, expressed their admiration of his zeal for 
learning, he replied that this was the proper calling 
of the clergy, who ought not to concern themselves 
with worldly affairs. His preaching was distin- 
guished for fire and unction, and out of church, as 
well as in it, he declaimed against the corruptions 
of the world : his soft words and gentle manners 
seemed those of a saint living in communion with 
God, and in charity with his neighbour. He always 
walked out of church smiling, with his head on one 
side, his eyes half closed and fixed upon the ground, 
and his hands folded. Even those who felt a personal 


dislike to him, or distrusted his character, praised 
his merits as a priest, and his eloquence in the 
pulpit. " He was," said one Niedermeyer, " really a 
most charming preacher, and would have converted 
us all to righteousness, had he stayed longer at Hof- 
kirchen : he cast his eyes towards heaven, and preached 
most powerful doctrine." Besides this, the common 
people believed, and he encouraged the idea, that 
he stood in close and constant communication with the 
invisible world. The dead came from purgatory to 
visit him in his chamber, and entreat him to say a 
mass for the repose of their souls, and when this was 
done they were released. Even before the mass was 
over, he saw the beatified spirit fly towards heaven 
in the form of a white dove. When his spiritual 
duties called him abroad by night, the distressed 
souls of the departed flitted before him in the shape of 
small flames, probably to obtain his benediction, and 
followed the direction of his hallowed finger as he 
pointed to the right or to the left. For some time 
he was honoured almost as a saint by the people, and 
many would eagerly rush to seat themselves upon the 
chair he had just left, in the hopes of feeling something 
of his holy influence. 

Some of his clerical brethren, indeed, beheld in 
him a hypocrite and a pharisee. It was whispered 
at Hirnheim that the parish priest had received a 
letter from his brother priest at Hofkirchen, where 
Riembauer had acted as chaplain, warning him against 
the new comer as a wolf in sheep's clothing ; and tell- 
ing him that he had obtained his removal on this 
account. Nor did all his penitents implicitly believe 


in the piety and virtue of this holy man : some of 
them privately doubted whether a man, who flattered 
all alike, and looked no one in the face, were not a 
very great hypocrite. There were many good, pru- 
dent fathers of families, who, while they felt highly 
honoured in receiving the pious young ecclesiastic in 
their houses, nevertheless took especial precautions for 
the security of their daughters, to whom Riembauer 
invariably paid particular attention, whenever he 
passed the night under their roofs. 

It was not until many years later, when other far 
more important discoveries had been made, that the 
following circumstances in the life of this holy man 
became public. While he was chaplain at Hof- 
kirchen, he seduced the priest's cookmaid, Maria 
H , and afterwards gave her the means of retiring 
to Landshut, where, in 1801, she was delivered of a 
son, who died soon after. During his residence at 
Hirnheim as chaplain, he lived with Anna Eich- 
stadter, the kitchen-maid at the manse, and in 1803 
he had a daughter by her, which was born and chris- 
tened at Ratisbon, both parents giving false names. 
While he was chaplain at Pfarrkofen, in 1803, he 
seduced a sempstress, Walburga R , who bore him a 
daughter, named Theresa, who also was alive at the 
time of the trial. It was also rumoured that the cook- 
maid of the parish priest of Pfarrkofen was in the same 
state by him. He was then chaplain at Pondorf in 
1804, where, according to his own account, he received 
great offence from the wickedness of the world, and the 
corruption of the young clergy ; for some of the other 
chaplains paid particular attention to the youthful 


cousin of the parish priest, to which she did not appear 
insensible. He was hereby compelled to procure his 
removal to some other curacy. He was translated to 
Pirkwang ; and at Lauterbach, a small village within 
his cure, he selected as his mistress a farmer's 
daughter, named Magdalena Frauenknecht, whose 
history we shall have to relate hereafter. After the 
death of this mistress, he lived with his last cookmaid, 
Anna Weninger, by whom he had no less than three 

In order to quiet the conscience and secure -the 
fidelity of those concubines with whom he intended to 
live for any length of time, Riembauer used to per- 
form the marriage service over them, uniting in his 
own person the characters of priest and bridegroom. 
Catherine Frauenknecht asserted that, hidden behind 
Riembauer's bed, she witnessed the strange espousals 
of her sister Magdalena ; that Riembauer repeated 
all the usual prayers and exhortations, and placed a 
gold wedding-ring on her sister's finger. Anna We- 
ninger said that the same thing took place at her 

o o 

union with him, but was not sure whether the 
priestly bridegroom performed the ceremony clad in 
his stole and with burning candles, or not. He him- 
self denied having thus profaned his sacred functions, 
but confessed that he had instructed his mistresses in 
the duties of the married state, and then given and 
received a formal promise. He was very earnest in 
persuading his female penitents that they might safely 
permit themselves certain sins with the saints of the 
Lord. Many other charges were proved against him 
which we will pass over in silence, the more so as we 
want nothing: further to convince us that the whole of 


his ecclesiastical career was a perfect illustration of 
the well-known and popular maxim 

Le mal n'est jamais que dans 1'eclat qu'on fait. 
Le scandale du monde est ce qui fait 1'offense, 
Et ce n'est pas pecher que pecher en silence.* 

Without having read Moliere, Riembauer thoroughly 
understood not only how to sin in secret, and to 
appear before the world as a saint, but also how 
to keep an amicable account with heaven for sins 
already committed, or to be committed hereafter. 

Le Ciel defend, de vrai, certains contentements ; 
Mais on trouve avec lui des accommodements. 
Selon divers besoins, il est une science 
D'etendre les liens de notre conscience, 
Et de rectifier le mal de 1'action 
Avec la purete de notre intention, f 

These errors and frailties were not his sins, 
but the sins of celibacy ; and casuistry furnished 
him with arguments to prove that in procreating 
illegitimate children he was instrumental in ex- 
tending the kingdom of God ; that, therefore, this 
conduct, far from being reprehensible, was praise- 
worthy, and agreeable in the sight of heaven. " I 
considered," these are his words, " 1st, That reason 
tells us that it cannot be unlawful to beget a child ; 
for to call into existence an immortal and rational 
being is a good deed. It is thus that a man becomes 
in a peculiar manner the image of God, with whom 
he co-operates in the creation of a human being, as is 
said by Saint Clement of Alexandria ; 2nd, That it 
cannot be contrary to God's ordinances, for thus it is 
that the number of the elect is increased ; 3rd, 

* Le Tartuffe. f Ibid - 


Neither is it against the decrees of the Church, if the 
child be educated in the Christian faith ; 4th, Nor 
against the interests of the State, provided this mem- 
ber of it receive moral and civil instruction, so as to 
become a good citizen and faithful subject, and pro- 
vided the mother of the child be not forsaken. I 
frequently considered all these arguments, which were 
supported by the history of the church,* and by my 
own experience. My conscience was thus made easy 
under these errors of celibacy." 

Riembauer, impelled by feelings of duty and kind- 
ness, or by prudential motives, did everything in his 
power to provide for his children and to keep their 
mothers quiet and contented, so that they might do 
nothing to injure his reputation. 

The child of Anna Eichstadter was educated at his 
expense at Ratisbon, and he kept up a constant and 
friendly intercourse with the mother, who served in 
various places as housemaid or waiting-maid. He 
corresponded with her, and provided her with linen, 
money, &c. ; occasionally visited her, and held out 
hopes of taking her to live with him permanently as 
his cook, whenever he should have a parsonage of his 
own. Anna Eichstadter, the daughter of a carpenter 
at Fiirth, was a well-shaped, tall, strong, broad-shoul- 
dered woman, remarkable, among other things (which 
is important in the sequel), for two rows of most 
beautiful teeth. The intimate and friendly connexion 
subsisting between her and Riembauer received a con- 

* It is probable that the learned Riembauer refers to those por- 
tions of ecclesiastical history which treat of the lives of Sergius III., 
John XII., Innocent II. and VII., John XXIII., Alexander VI., 
Julius II., &c. 


siderable shock about a year after his removal as 
chaplain to Pirkwang : this shock eventually caused 
her cruel death. 

Riembauer, as we have already said, had the charge 
of the church at Ober Lauterbach, where the Frauen- 
knecht family lived at a farm called the Thomashof. 
The Frauenknechts, by their industry and frugality, 
their benevolent and Christian spirit, and their pious 
conduct, had gained the respect and love of all their 
neighbours. When Riembauer began his ministry 
there at Christmas, 1805, the family consisted of the 
father, who died two years after, his wife and two 
daughters the eldest of whom, Magdalena, was born 
in 1788 ; the second, Catherine, in 1796. The former 
was described by all who knew her, both high and 
low, as a most pious, gentle, amiable girl ; and, until 
Riembauer came near her, of spotless reputation. The 
latter, who was then but a child, was generally said 
to be a frank and honest girl, with an understanding 
beyond her years. 

Riembauer's cupidity was soon excited by this 
family, and he determined to possess not only the 
daughter, Magdalena, but likewise the property of 
these simple-hearted people. He obtained their entire 
confidence, not only by his air of sanctity and the 
superiority of his education and profession, but also 
by laying aside in his intercourse with them the 
outward honours of his station, and becoming, in 
pure Christian humility, their equal. Whenever 
his duties or his pleasure took him to Ober Lauter- 
bach, he assisted the Frauenknecht family in their 
husbandry, doing for them, to the astonishment of 
the neighbours, the work of a common day-labourer. 


He \vho could find in his theological code a trium- 
phant apology for every action, frequently quoted 
the decrees of the Council of Carthage, the testi- 
mony of Saint Epiphanius, and the example of many 
bishops and priests of ancient times, who united the 
offices of preachers aritT common labourers, to prove 
that an ecclesiastic forfeited none of the dignity of his 
sacred calling by following the plough or carting- 
dung. Without having any money, he bought the 
farm called the Thomashof from the Frauenknecht 
family in December, 1806, for 4000 florins, frau- 
dulently inserting into the contract a recital that 
2000 florins had already been paid : and after the 
death of old Frauenknecht he presented to the widow 
a false bill of expenses, amounting to 2000 more, 
which she, in her good-natured simplicity, admitted. 
After thus gaining possession of the Thomashof, where, 
however, the Frauenknecht family continued to re- 
side, he removed to Lauterbach, and lived there, 
dividing his time between his professional duties and 
agricultural labour. This conduct procured for him 
the reputation of a patriarch among some of his 
neighbours of the higher class; but the peasants, 
whose good common sense was shocked by the impro- 
priety of this proceeding, called him the farmer of 

Soon after the fraudulent purchase of the farm, 
the eldest daughter, Magdalena, found herself about 
to become a mother by this reverend patriarch, and 
was sent by him to Munich, nominally to learn 
cooking, but in reality to conceal her pregnancy. 
There she served for six or seven months in the house 
of the Registrar Y , and was afterwards delivered 


of a son in June 1807, while living in the same house 
with Riembauer at the very time when he passed 
his examination for priest's orders with great honour. 
The expenses of Magdalena's stay at Munich which 
was entirely owing to Riembauer were put down by 
him at 500 florins, and deducted, with other charges 
of a similar nature, from the sum owing to the widow 
Frauenknecht for the Thomashof. 

During Riembauer's stay at Munich, from about 
the 9th to the 15th June, Anna Eichstadter, who was 
then in service at Ratisbon, came to Lauterbach to 
extract from her lover the money for her child, which 
Riembauer's embarrassments had prevented him from 
paying as heretofore ; and possibly also to take him 
to task about his connexion with Magdalena, and 
to compel him to fulfil his promise of taking her as 
his cook. When she learnt from Catherine Frauen- 
knecht that Riembauer was absent, she demanded 
the key of his room, saying that she was his cousin. 
Here she acted as if she were mistress of the house, 
ransacked all the chests and drawers in her search 
for money. On finding none, or at any rate not 
enough, she wrote him a threatening letter, which 
she left ; and after sleeping at Thomashof she re- 
turned to Ratisbon. After Riembauer's return from 
Munich he received a second and still more angry 
letter from her, threatening him with legal pro- 
ceedings if he did not fulfil his engagements to- 
wards her. 

Shortly after, Riembauer went to visit Anna Eich- 
stadter at Ratisbon, and satisfied her for the present. 
On his departure she accompanied him with her child 
as far as Kumpfmuhl, and urged him to break off his 


connexion with Magdalena, and not to forsake her- 
self. She sat on the bank by the road-side with her 
child, and implored him, with uplifted hands and 
tears in her eyes, to keep the promises he had made 
her. But the pious priest raised his stick with 
a threatening gesture, struck it angrily upon the 
ground, and went his way. 

Anna Eichstadter had lived hitherto with a horse- 
dealer at Ratisbon, but in October, 1807, she quitted 

his service for that of the parish priest at P . On 

the 1st of November she went to the house of her new 
master, but requested permission to visit her relations 
before entering upon her duties as cook. As a pledge 
of her promise of service she left with her master her 
silver necklace, and several other articles of value. 
As it was raining, he lent her a green cotton umbrella, 
on the handle of which were engraved his initials, 
J. O. Several days passed, and she did not return. 
Her master, who had reason to suspect that she had 
gone to Riembauer, wrote to him, requesting him to 
tell Anna Eichstadter, if she did not like to enter his 
service, at any rate to return his umbrella. Riem- 
bauer answered that he was unable to give any 
information about her, as he had neither seen her 
nor the umbrella. Anna Eichstadter never appeared 
again from the 1st of November, the day she left her 
master's house ; she neither returned to Ratisbon, 
nor went to her native town, Fiirth. Her relations 
and friends could not discover her place of abode, 
or whether she were alive or dead. It was supposed 
either that she was drowned, or had fallen into the 
hands of a notorious robber, who was executed in the 


following year ; and, at length, nobody thought any 
more about her. 

Some months after the disappearance of Anna 
Eichstadter in 1808, Riernbauer was appointed to the 
living of Priel. Hereupon he sold at a profit the ill- 
gotten farm of Thomashof, and the widow Frauen- 
knecht and her two daughters accompanied him 
to his new home, where Magdalena served him as 
cook. But in the following year both she and her 
mother were seized with a sudden illness and died, 
the daughter on the 16th, the mother on the 21st 
June, 1809. 

The younger daughter, Catherine, had quitted the 
parsonage some time before her mother's and sister's 
death, partly on account of quarrels with her sister, 
partly from confirmed dislike to Riembauer. She 
first went into service at his brother's house, after 
which she lived with different masters. Wherever 
she went, though generally even-tempered and cheer- 
ful, she was subject to fits of terror and despondency. 
Solitude filled her with horror ; she was afraid to 
sleep alone : she seemed to be haunted by fearful 
visions, and her terrors increased with her years. 
Some dreadful secret appeared to weigh upon her mind. 
Occasionally she let fall expressions about some wo- 
man, whose image pursued her wherever she went. 
She once told a certain Catherine Schmid, with 
whom she slept at Ratisbon, of a horrid murder com- 
mitted by the priest Riembauer. Afterwards, when 

she was in service at D , she told the same story 

to her mistress, who advised her to open her heart to 
a confessor. She accordingly applied to a priest, to 


whom she related that Riembauer, by whom her 
family had been defrauded of 2000 florins, and she 
herself deprived of her home, had cut the throat of a 
woman who visited him at Lauterbach in November, 
1 807 ; that he had also destroyed her mother and 
sister by poison, on account of their knowledge of the 
murder; and, lastly, that he had endeavoured to get 
her into his power, doubtless with the intention of 
putting out of the world the only living witness of 
his crime. The confessor dissuaded her from laying 
any information against Riembauer in a court of 
justice, and advised her to leave him, if he were 
guilty, to the judgment of God. He afterwards 
assured her that he had secretly consulted several 
other ecclesiastics on this case, and that this advice 
had been approved by them all. Another priest, 

Co-operator S , to whom Catherine subsequently 

told the same tale, also recommended silence, but took 
the opportunity of endeavouring to serve both her and 
Riembauer, by writing to the latter an anonymous 
Latin letter, threatening him with the revelation of 
some terrible secret if he did not satisfy the person 
knowing it by a full restitution of her property.* 
The co-operator had previously asked advice upon 
this casum conscientice of the parish priest, who was of 
opinion that the affair should certainly be laid before 
the proper tribunal, but approved the generosity of 
the motives which had dictated the threatening letter. 

* The letter which Riembauer afterwards repeated from memory 
was as follows : " Habeo casum mihi propositum, quern tantum- 
modo tu solvere potes. Vir quidam, quern tu bene noscis, debet 
alicui personae 3000 florenorum circiter. Si conscientia tua vigilat, 
solve hoc debitum. Nisi intra quatuor hebdomedas respondeas, 
horrenda patefaciet ista persona. Hannibal ante portas .'" 



At length, in 1813, Catherine Frauenknecht laid a 
formal accusation against Riembauer, first at Ober 
Lauterbach, and afterwards at a criminal court at 
Landshut, specially held for this case. The evidence 
she gave was nearly as follows, and she repeated it 
upon oath in the following year, when she became 
of age. 

"During the summer of 1807, while my sister 
Magdalena and the reverend Mr. Riembauer were 
at Munich the former to learn cooking, the latter to 
pass his examination a woman of about twenty- two, 
tall, handsome, with an oval face, and light brown 
hair, in a peasant's dress, with a gold cap on her head, 
came to our house ; my mother was at work in the 
field. She told me that she was a cousin of Riem- 
bauer's, and on hearing that he was at Munich for his 
examination, she requested me to give her the key of 
his room, which I refused. But when my mother 
returned home she obtained it from her, went into 
Riembauer's room, and searched it thoroughly, just as 
though she were in her own house. She remained 
with us that night, and said that she had found no 
money, and had therefore left a letter for the priest, 
sealed up in a cover. In about a week Mr. Riem- 
bauer returned from Munich. I told him what had 
happened, and he said, ' that she was a cousin of his, 
to whom he owed some money.' 

" In the November of the same year, I do not know 
exactly on what day (it was afterwards discovered to 
have been All Souls' Day, the 2nd of November), 
the same cousin came again to Thomashof, just as 
Riembauer had carted home turnips from the. field. 
My sister was at home with him, but my mother 


and I came in from work somewhat later. As we 
drew near the house we heard a voice upstairs in the 
priest's room whether crying or laughing we could 
not at first distinguish but we soon perceived that it 
was wailing. The moment we reached the threshold 
of our house, my sister ran towards us, all in tears, 
and hastily told us, ' that a strange woman, who 
called herself his cousin, had come to see the reverend 
gentleman ; that Mr. Riembauer had taken her up 
into his own room, and had there told her that he was 
going to fetch some beer : that under this pretext he 
had come down stairs, fetched his razor, and gone up 
stairs again with it in his hand : that he had then 
approached the woman, who was sitting on a chair 
(as Magdalena, who had crept up-stairs after him, 
saw through the key-hole), and catching hold of her 
neck, as if to kiss her, had pressed her head down 
towards the floor, and cut her throat.' 

" While my sister was telling us this on the door- 
step, we still heard the wailing noise, and Mr. Riem- 
bauer's voice saying, ' Nanny ! make a clean breast, for 
you must die.' We then heard a moaning voice say- 
ing, ' Franzel ! don't do it ! only spare my life, and I 
will never again come to you for money.'* 

" My mother and sister instantly went into the 
room below, but from curiosity I ran up-stairs, and 
distinctly saw, through the key-hole, Mr. Riembauer 

* An attempt was afterwards made to impugn the credit of Cathe- 
rine's evidence on this point. It was said that if Riembauer had 
already cut the woman's throat before Magdalena had come down 
stairs, it was impossible she should speak loud enough to be heard 
on the door-step. But Von Walther gives it as his opinion that 
even when the windpipe is cut, it is possible for a person to speak 
with the head bent forward. 



sitting or kneeling upon the body of the woman, who 
lay upon the floor kicking and struggling. He held 
her head and throat with both hands while the blood 
gushed from her. 

" I then went down stairs, and told what I had 
seen to my weeping mother and sister, who still 
hesitated whether they should not call for help. 
When I went out again into the passage I met Mr. 
Riembauer coming down stairs, dressed in his usual 
brown jacket and a white apron ; his hands and the 
apron were covered with blood, and in his right hand 
he held the bloody razor, which he laid upon the 
small chest by the door; he then went into the room 
where my mother and sister were. I listened at the 
door, and heard him tell them ' that this woman had 
had a child by him ; and was always plaguing him 
for money ; that she had now asked him for between 
100 and 200 florins, and had threatened him with 
an action if he refused ; and that, as he could not 
raise the money, he had cut her throat to get rid of 

" I afterwards slipt into Mr. Riembauer's room, 
and there I saw the same person who had been at 
our house the previous summer, stretched on the 
floor, in a pool of blood, with her throat cut through, 
her hair dishevelled, and her clothes torn. I screamed 
and let fall the candle from fright. 

" When I came down stairs again, I saw the re- 
verend gentleman washing the blood from his hands, 
and told him that I had seen the person who had 
come in the summer lying dead in his room. He 
then coaxed me, told me I was mistaken, and pro- 
mised me quantities of fine clothes if I would not 


mention what I had seen or heard to any one. My 
mother still continued to weep, and to declare that 
she must inform against him. But Mr. Riembauer 
threw himself at her feet, and entreated her not to 
betray him. My mother still insisted, adding that 
her silence would be of no avail, as the neighbours 
must have seen the stranger and heard the noise. Mr. 
Riembauer at last said that nothing then was left for 
him but to destroy himself. 

" He then put on his coat, fetched a rope out of the 
outhouse, and ran with it towards the wood. My 
mother and sister, who followed him at a distance, 
saw that he was really in earnest, and thinking that 
it would only make matters worse if Mr. Riembauer 
were to hang himself, they ran after him, and by 
promises of secrecy prevailed upon him to relinquish 
his design. 

" When he had returned home with my mother 
and sister, he debated in my presence about a safe 
place where he might bury the body, and chose for 
the purpose the little room on the left hand in the 
newly built outhouse. He quieted my relations 
by assuring them that he would bury the body him- 
self, and that nothing would be discovered if only I, 
then a child of twelve, could be prevented from 

" At midnight, between twelve and one, he took a 
lantern and a spade, and went into the closet in 
the outhouse, where he dug a hole. After a time I 
heard a noise overhead, opened our room-door, and 
saw a light near the cellar-door, and Mr. Riembauer 
dragging the body, which was completely dressed, 
down-stairs by the shoulders, so that the head hung 


down backwards. A shudder came over me, and I 
cannot tell how he then conveyed the body into the 
outhouse. But I afterwards went thither, and looking 
in at the open door, my mother and sister and I saw 
that the reverend gentleman had already put the 
murdered woman into the hole, and was covering her 
over with earth. 

" He washed away the blood which stained the 
ground from the house to the outhouse the same 
night, and on the following morning he cleansed the 
house with his own hands, first using cold, then hot 

" But in his own room the blood was already dry, 
and washing was of no use ; I was therefore sent to 
borrow a plane from our nearest neighbour, Michael 
the carpenter; with this Mr. Riembauer planed the 
floor till the stains disappeared, and threw the shavings 
into the grate. 

" On the morning after the murder, as I was going 
to school, I saw our dog dragging a woman's bloody 
shoe about the yard. I mentioned this to Riembauer, 
and he told me to carry it into the room down-stairs. 
I took it up on a stick, as it made my blood run cold, 
and threw it on the floor of our room : I do not know 
what became of it afterwards. 

" When our neighbours inquired what had happened 
in our house to cause such disturbance and crying, we 
answered, as the reverend gentleman had instructed 
us, that we had wept about our father's death and 
the loss of the 2000 florins which Mr. Riembauer had 
squeezed out of us, as all the village knew. 

" The murdered woman had brought with her a 
green umbrella belonging to the priest at P . 


Mr. Riembauer kept it, and still had it when he was 
parish priest of Priel. 

" About fourteen days after the body was buried 
there was a dreadful stench in the outhouse. The 
women who were threshing complained of this to 
Mr. Riembauer, who told them he could not conceive 
the reason. Soon after, one of the women, who had 
gone into the little side-room, stumbled against some- 
thing in the dark, and called for a light, that she 
might see what it was, as she was sure that it could 
not be a stone. Mr. Riembauer prevented her, and 
instantly fetched a padlock out of his own room, and 
fastened the door, which until then had always stood 
open. He told us all this down-stairs, adding that it 
was one of Nanny's feet sticking out of the earth. 
That same evening he fetched more sand, and co- 
vered the grave over with it." 

Catherine then proceeded to give an account of the 
sickness and sudden death of her mother and sister in 
June, 1809, when she was at the vicarage, having 
been fetched from school at Ratisbon to take charge 
of the kitchen during her sister's illness. She con- 
fidently asserted that Mr. Riembauer had poisoned 
her mother and sister, and added that they had fre- 
quently quarrelled with him, and that her sister had 
even threatened to leave his service, for which reason 
Riembauer lived in constant dread of discovery. 
That during their illness he did not allow them any 
medical or religious attendance, and himself gave her 
sister medicines, which he got from a barber-surgeon, 
and even forced her to take them. She herself was 
sent to fetch some drugs from the barber, which 
Riembauer gave next morning to her sister, who 


shortly after swooned and died. " The body of my 
sister," said Catherine, " was exceedingly swollen and 
covered with spots; blood ran from her nose and 
mouth. The barber supposed her to have been with 
child ; the village people said the same, and pointed 
out Riembauer as the father. All wondered that 
my mother and sister should both have died so sud- 

Lastly Catherine maintained that Riembauer had 
several times expressed an intention of killing her 
also. Her sister once warned her that he had said 
that he would not mind giving two or three hundred 
florins to any one who would put her out of the 
way : adding, " the girl is growing taller and more 
sensible every day, and at last no dowry will be 
large enough to keep her silent." After her sister's 
death he begged her not to leave him, and promised 
to give her eight thousand florins as her marriage- 
portion if she would but stay. But after four weeks 
she left his house, and because he appropriated to 
himself all her sister's money, clothes, and letters, she 
said to him as she went away, " Reverend sir, I do 
not forget the past ;" whereupon he answered, " It 
will go harder with you than with me : I have made 
up my mind what to say ; your mother and sister are 
dead, and can tell no tales, and I shall say it was 
they who murdered the woman." But he did not lose 
sight of her, and several times afterwards attempted 
to get her into his service, or rather into his power. 

This accusation, brought by a girl of seventeen 
against a clergyman of high consideration, was so 
strange in its details, so improbable and extravagant, 
that at first it was regarded as the invention of a dis- 


eased imagination. But the narrative was so con- 
sistent, so circumstantial and so clear, and the girl 
showed so much sense, and was so unembarrassed and 
confident, that it was impossible to let the matter rest. 

The farm-house of Thomashof, in which the event 
was said to have taken place, and the body of Anna 
Eichstadter to be buried, had fortunately passed into 
other hands, and the accused priest was living at 
a distance. It thus was possible without exciting at- 
tention to make the necessary investigations on the 

Directions were accordingly given at Lauterbach 
to examine the Thomashof. The new outhouse de- 
scribed by Catherine was found, and within it on the 
left hand a small closet. On digging, they found, 
very near the surface, one shoe and a female skeleton, 
the skull of which contained two rows of beautiful 
white teeth. On the floor of the room formerly in- 
habited by Riembauer stains were found, which, on 
being wetted with warm water, clearly showed them- 
selves to be marks of blood ; several of the boards bore 
traces of having been planed by an unskilful hand, 
evidently for the purpose of effacing similar spots. 
The carpenter Michael remembered that the Frauen- 
knecht family had borrowed a plane of him some six 
years before. 

Upon this Riembauer was apprehended and con- 
veyed to Landshut. He showed but little surprise, 
and indeed seemed fully prepared for the occurrence. 
At the first examination, of the 27th October, 
1813, he did not affect ignorance of the cause of his 
apprehension, but immediately mentioned Anna Eich- 
stadter. He said he had made acquaintance with 


her at Hirnheim, but that nothing improper had 
passed between them : that she had had the greatest 
confidence in him, had intrusted to his care 50 florins 
of her savings, and had begged him to take her as his 
cook, which he promised to do, on condition of her 
future good conduct. That since he had left Hirnheim 
he had heard nothing more of her, excepting at 
Pirkwang, where she had twice sent or written to him 
for part of the 50 florins. That during the summer 
of 1807, while he was at Munich for his examination, 
she had come to Lauterbach to see him, and had told 
the Frauenknecht family, to their great annoyance, 
that he had promised to take her as his cook. 

" It was," said Riembauer, " about the 3rd, 4th, or 
5th November, 1807 (he purposely misstated the 
day), that I returned from celebrating a funeral 
at Pirkwang to Thomashof, the farm which I had 
lately bought. It was just twilight. I went straight 
up to my own room, and found the door open and a 
person lying upon the floor. I imagined it to be one 
of the women belonging to the house, and called out 
* How now what is the matter ?' On receiving no 
answer, I touched her, and found, to my horror, 
that she was dead. I ran down stairs in utter 
dismay, and in the room below I found the mother 
and her daughter Catherine clinging to each other 
and trembling like aspen-leaves. Upon asking them 
what had happened, they seized my hands and im- 
plored me amid tears and lamentations to keep every- 
thing secret. I then learnt that Anna Eichstadter, 
who had been to see me once before, while I was at 
Munich, had arrived at Thomashof that afternoon, 
and had insisted upon going up into my room ; that 


both mother and daughter had quarrelled violently 
with this woman, who had attempted to stab them, 
and that Magdalena had seized my razor and cut her 
throat. The dispute which led to such terrible results 
had been caused by Eichstadter's assertion that she 
was come to be my cook, and that the Frauenknechts 
would be forced to leave the house. 

" I afterwards lighted a candle, and in the person 
lying in my room recognised Anna Eichstadter. 

" I wished to quit Thomashof immediately, and 
told the Frauenknechts that I could no longer stay 
with them. But they held me by both hands, im- 
ploring me with tears and groans, by all that was 
most sacred, to stay, that they would give me anything 
I might ask, and deduct as much as I pleased from 
the purchase-money which I still owed them for the 
farm. At last I suffered myself to be persuaded to 
stay, brought my bed down into the passage, and 
slept there. 

" I went out early the next morning, leaving the 
dead body in my room. When I returned in the 
evening, it was lying on a litter, and the Frauen- 
knechts told me that they wished to bury it in the 
left-hand room in the outhouse. I told them that 
they might do as they pleased, that I could not assist 

" Between eight and nine at night, the mother and 
daughter carried the body on a litter into the little 
closet and covered it with the earth, which had already 
been dug out. 

" The following morning I went to the spot myself, 
and found the earth loosely heaped over the body. 
Upon calling their attention to this, and remarking 


that should any man or beast enter the outhouse, the 
thing must be discovered, they took some sand and 
rubbish and covered the grave with it. 

" I continued to sleep down stairs in the passage 
some few nights longer, and then returned to my own 
room after it had been cleaned." 

These were the chief points of a statement by which 
he attempted to prove that he had, at his own peril, 
consigned this horrible event to the keeping of his 
priestly conscience, out of compassion for the crimi- 
nals, whose spiritual director he was, and because 
that which was done could not be undone, and the 
women deeply repented of their crime. 

Unlike meaner criminals, who usually deny every- 
thing, Riembauer pursued the highest line of policy, 
freely admitting all the facts which were already 
proved, but endeavouring to arrange them in such an 
order that the certainty of their truth need not bring 
with it a conviction of his own guilt. Upon this 
system Riembauer repeated the statement made against 
him, the tenor of which he could easily guess, almost 
word for word as Catherine had related it, with this 
one important difference, that he changed the persons, 
accusing Magdalena and her mother of the crime, and 
assuming for himself the part of spectator, which had 
belonged to Catherine. That which he really did, he 
pretended only to have seen ; and to have concealed, 
from Christian charity, that which in fact Magdalena 
and her mother had concealed for him. 

This change of persons at once converted the ac- 
count of the murder at Thorn ashof the main facts 
of which were acknowledged by the accused to be 
true from a fearful romance into a manifest ab- 


surdity. Who could imagine such a deed possible 
to a gentle kind-hearted woman, who, as Riembauer 
said, had the soul of an angel ? What circumstances 
could be strange enough, what excitement sufficiently 
strong, suddenly to transform a woman so sweet- 
tempered, and at the same time so timid and ner- 
vous, as Magdalena is represented to have been, into 
a bloodthirsty fury ? Eichstadter was tall, strong, 
broad-shouldered, and powerfully made ; Magdalena, 
on the contrary, was small, thin, and weak : how 
could it have been possible for her to cut Eichstadter's 
throat? In a contest, such as that described bv 


Riembauer, a few wounds might have been inflicted ; 
but it is impossible thus to cut the throat of a person 
having the free use of her limbs. 

Thus by admitting the fact of the murder, Riem- 
bauer confirmed the truth of the accusation against 
himself, indirectly, it is true, but still conclusively. 

His conduct in prison afforded convincing proofs of 
his guilt. He began by bribing his gaolers. He wrote 
long letters to a number of persons of his acquaint- 
ance, directing them what evidence to give in his 
favour; especially to affirm that the deceased, Mag- 
dalena Frauenknecht, had confessed to them that she 
had murdered the woman.* He gave especial orders 
to his mistress, Anna Weninger, to get rid of the 
green umbrella as speedily as possible. Some of these 
letters reached their destination, among others that 

* In one letter, addressed to a priest of his acquaintance, he en- 
deavoured to induce him to give such evidence : 1. In considera- 
tion of our brotherly love ; 2. For the sake of the worthy Nanny 
(his cookmaid Weninger) ; 3. On account of our friends, who are 
grieved for me ; 4. On account of the clergy, who are thereby cast 
into the shade ; 5. On account of the faithful, who are offended. 


addressed to Anna Weninger, who punctually exe- 
cuted his commission. Riembauer went so far in his 
system of corruption as to endeavour, though without 
success, to gain a sight of the documents, or at any 
rate to ascertain the precise charge brought against 

Hereupon his gaolers were changed, and himself 
removed to another prison, whence he inferred that 
his letters had been intercepted. He therefore endea- 
voured to weaken the presumption which his conduct 
might have raised against him, by informing the 
judge that he had a disclosure to make, namely, that 
distress had thrown him into a state of temporary 
madness, during which he had written without con- 
sciousness or design letters which might appear like 
the production of a sane and guilty mind. He then 
endeavoured to explain to his judge, according to 
some Jesuitical theory, the difference between the 
human sensus externus, internus, and intimus ; and 
that this very bribery, &c. proved that he possessed 
the sensus externus and interims, but that the sensus 
intimus, upon which everything in fact depended, was 
totally wanting to him when he wrote the letters in 

Notwithstanding the absurdity of his first state- 
ment, it remained for four years during which he 
underwent ninety-nine examinations, besides count- 
less confrontations with witnesses the theme to which, 
with few variations, he constantly adhered. He per- 
sisted in the assertion that he was not the murderer 
of Anna Eichstadter ; that the day of the murder was 
the 3rd, not the 2nd of November ; that Magdalena 
Fraueuknecht committed the crime from jealousy and 


anger, and that he had nothing to accuse himself of 
but an error in judgment in suffering himself to be 
led by Christian charity and a mistaken sense of duty 
as a priest, to conceal her horrid deed. This, he 
said, was the truth, from which he could not depart, 
even though, like Saint Bartholomew, he were flayed 
alive ; and which, even on the scaffold, and sur- 
rounded by a thousand devils, he would still proclaim 
to the world with his latest breath. 

During most of the examinations he affected the 
resignation of a martyr, and usually answered the 
judges with a sweet smile. If occasionally assum- 
ing an air of injured innocence and honour, he 
burst forth in vehement words or gestures, he sud- 
denly stopped short and " with bated breath and 
whispering humbleness" begged pardon for this 
warmth, intelligible in one who saw the most mani- 
fest truths always contradicted, who was like " a de- 
fenceless sheep worried by savage dogs." When 
closely pressed, he sometimes attempted to overawe 
the judge by the assumption of a pulpit style ; at 
other times he burst into a laugh at the " unheard- 
of lies which the devil invented against him ;" and 
then he would strain his face into an appearance 
of sorrow and dejection, and vainly strive to shed 
tears. All the endeavours of the judge to overcome 
the obstinacy of the accused by representing to him 
the improbability and the absurdity of his tale, were 
foiled by his matchless self-possession and his dialectic 
skill. He had a solution for every difficulty ; an hypo- 
thesis for every conflicting statement ; there was no- 
thing, however impossible, which he did not attempt 
by dint of his psychological and metaphysical learn- 


ing to demonstrate into probability. When it was 
urged how incredible it was that Magdalena, whom 
he represented as remarkable for kindness and gen- 
tleness, should commit such an action, he launched 
out into a disquisition upon the influence of jealousy 
and anger in general, and upon the excitability of 
the female sex in particular, under the influence 
of which Magdalena, hardly conscious of what 
she was about, might have done the deed. If his 
attention was called to the physical impossibility of 
the action as narrated by him, he was ready with the 
suggestion that Magdalena's mother might have come 
to her assistance, or, with his habitual smile, he bared 
his own throat, and showed upon it how easily the 
operation might have been performed. When it was 
objected that the weak and unpractised hand of a 
woman could not, under any circumstances, inflict so 
deep a wound with a razor, he brought out of his store 
of metaphysical learning the theory of a certain motus 
primo primus, by which, when once the razor was set 
in motion, it acquired unusual force in a particular 

He left no means untried to cast suspicion upon 
Catherine's character and evidence. The testimony 
of others who proved the falsehood of many parti- 
culars of his statement was seldom able to shake 
his confidence or to induce him to retract any of his 
assertions. When confronted with witnesses, he always 
gave them to understand what he wished them to say, 
and endeavoured to work upon their feelings of com- 
passion or of reverence. Sometimes he would try to 
overawe them by eloquence, and by the dignity of his 
spiritual character, or to confuse and lead them into 


contradictions by candidly and eloquently reminding 
them how easily man may be so deceived by the im- 
perfection of his nature, delusion of the senses, or 
want of memory, as in all honesty to mistake false- 
hood for truth. When these wiles had, as usual, 
failed, he accused the witnesses of gross error or of 
impudent deceit, invoked all the persons of the 
Godhead and all the saints in Heaven to testify that 
he had spoken truth ; or, in holy wrath at the corrupt 
nature of man, he called down upon their heads the just 
vengeance of offended Heaven. Once, when clearly 
convicted of a falsehood by the evidence of several 
witnesses, he exclaimed with flashing eyes, " Quis 
contra torrentem ? If thirty thousand men stood there, 
and said the devil is white, I would ever maintain 
him to be black, and in the same manner I must 
still affirm," &c. Occasionally, but very seldom, he 
altered his course, and confessed the truth of some 
fact, which, for months and in spite of all proof, he 
had obstinately denied ; but then either the action of 
melancholy on the sensus intimus, or some innocent 
confusion of his ideas an involuntary deception caused 
by the associatio idearum had to bear the blame of 
his former assertions, which were instantly replaced by 
others equally false. He was inexhaustible in hypo- 
critical figures of speech, by which he endeavoured to 
persuade the judge of his innocence. He assured him 
" that his heart was like that of a dove, without gall ;" 
" that he wished him a magic mirror in which he 
might behold the purity of his soul." That he had 
hitherto invariably shown himself to be one of the 
most goodnatured of men ; how therefore could any 
one suspect him of so horrible an action ? cum nemo 



repente fiat pessimus. " My heart shudders," says 
he, " at the bare accusation. In order that you may 
perceive how improbable it is, I beg of you to consider 
my priestly character. You know, 1, that by com- 
mitting murder a priest becomes irregularis ; 2, eoc- 
communicationem majorem ipso facto illatam incur- 
rere ;* 3, that though David did severe penance for 
the murder of Uriah, he was no longer worthy to 
build the Temple. How then could it be possible for 
me to forget my God, my future happiness, eternal 
and temporal punishment, and, with hands still reek- 
ing with innocent blood, to grasp God's image, admi- 
nister the sacred mysteries of religion, and thus cast 
myself headlong from one abyss to another ?" 

As Riembauer could not be moved by admonition, 
exhortation, argument, or evidence, the judge at- 
tempted to find a way to his conscience through his 

* Riembauer is perfectly correct in his canon law ; but this 
knowledge only made his character appear still more atrocious 
when he subsequently confessed the murder. Since the 2nd Novem- 
ber, 1807, he had become irregularis, i. e. incapable of adminis- 
tering any sacred function, and still he continued to do so (Van 
Espen, ' Jus Eccl. Un.,' torn. II. p. ii. tit. 10, c. i. and vii. ; Rieger, 
' Instit. Jurisprud. Ecclesiasticae,' p. ii. 125-144). No fasting, 
no penitence, can remove irregularity on account of murder ; and 
he who, conscious of this irregularity, continues to administer the 
sacraments, is guilty of deadly sin (' Add. Silvestri ad Van Espen,' 
I. c. 7). A dispensation from the pope was alone able to remove 
it, upon which one learned in the Catholic canon law (Pyrrhus 
Corradus) remarks: " Pontifex in dispensationibus hujus modi 
concedendis, non parum difficilem se reddit ; cum abominabile sit, 
quod effundens sanguinem humanum, offerat sanguinem Christi et 
hostiam immaculatam, vel officium Deo ad altaris ministerium 
prcestet" What a priest, then, was Riembauer, and what a man ! 
Moreover, he afterwards owned that he had never confessed his crime 
to any other priest, but, as he expressed it, referred the whole matter 
to God alone. 


imagination. The trial had now lasted two whole 
years, when the judge appointed All Souls' Day in 
1815, the eighth anniversary of the murder, for a new 
examination, the eighty-eighth in number. It com- 
menced at 4 P.M., and was intended to convince 
him, by the overwhelming mass of evidence collected 
against him, of the inutility of further denial, and to 
work upon his feelings more powerfully than usual, by 
admonition and appeal to his recollections. But he 
remained unmoved as ever. At midnight the judge, 
after addressing the accused in most moving language, 
suddenly raised a cloth, under which lay a skull 
upon a black cushion. " This," said the judge, 
" is the skull of Anna Eichstadter, which you may 
easily recognise by the beautiful teeth." Riem- 
bauer started from his seat, stared wildly at the 
judge, then smiled in his usual manner, and stepped 
aside to avoid looking straight into the empty sockets 
of the eyes, but quickly recovered himself, and said, 
pointing to the skull, " Could this skull speak, it 
would say, * Riembauer was my friend, not my mur- 
derer !' ' He added, " I am calm, and can breathe 
freely, but I am pained by being exposed to such 
scenes, and by the charge brought against me. To- 
morrow" (for Riembauer still asserted that the murder 
took place on the 3rd November) " is the anniversary 
of the day on which, some years ago, at my return from 
Pirkwang, I found the whole body lying dead in my 
room, as now I find this skull. As a citizen I ever stand 
in need of the king's mercy, but not as a criminal." 
When the report had been read and signed, the judge 
again led him up to the skull, which he held before his 
eyes while he exhorted him to confess. Riembauer 


betrayed some emotion, but with his usual hypocritical 
smile thus addressed the skull in a solemn tone, " Oh ! 
if thou couldst but speak, thou wouldst confirm the 
truth of my assertions !" 

After a long series of examinations, during which 
the documents had swelled to a bulk of forty-two folio 
volumes, on the 13th October, 1817, the prisoner re- 
quested an interview, in which he stated to the judge 
" that he had reflected more deeply on the subject, 
and had besought the Holy Ghost to assist his me- 
mory, whereupon it had become clear to him that he 
had made a mistake in his former statement." He 
then withdrew the assertion, which he had maintained 
for four years, that Anna Eichstadter had been mur- 
dered by Magdalena Frauenknecht, and affirmed that 
he had heard one day from Madame W. that a certain 
Catherine Schmidt had told her that she had been 
told by Magdalena Frauenknecht that it was not she 
who had murdered the woman, but her mother. This 
new story gave rise to fresh judicial proceedings. 

It so happened that on the 20th November, 1817, 
a Jew called Lammfromm was executed at Landshut 
for murder. Riembauer saw him led out to execu- 
tion, and was struck by the tranquillity and cheerful- 
ness with which this man went toward his bloody 
end. On expressing his wonder that this man, a 
murderer, and moreover a Jew, should meet death 
with so much composure, he was told that ever since 
Lammfromm had eased his conscience by confessing 
his crime, he had been in a most happy frame of 
mind, in which he continued till his death. From 
that moment the Christian priest grew more and 
more restless and anxious, ate and drank less, and on 


the 26th requested another interview, " as he thought 
he was suffering from a diseased conscience, the pangs 
of which might be eased by a full confession." In 
this interview, which was the hundredth, he fell upon 
his knees, begged that the trial might be brought to 
end, said that he was weary of life, and talked of all 
manner of phantasms how he received visits from 
strangers arid from persons whom he knew ; and how 
for the last three nights, after the Ave Maria, he had 
heard the sad and solemn roll of a funeral drum. 
Even now he could not at first resolve upon making 
a full confession. When the judge observed that his 
distress of mind was entirely owing to his guilt, he 
replied that " he was exhausted by sleepless nights, 
but that he had told the story as he knew it and as 
it occurred." The judge once more recapitulated all 
the falsehoods, improbabilities, and contradictions 
contained in his statement, animadverted upon his 
strangely pusillanimous and confused demeanour, and 
concluded with the remark that his feelings seemed 
deeply touched, and that he had better, by a free and 
full confession of the truth, endeavour to obtain some 
peace of mind. Upon this the criminal at last ex- 
claimed, " Yes ! I feel deeply shaken ; my health is 
broken ; and you, Sir, are perfectly right when you 
say that I cannot do better than make a repentant 
confession. But before I take the decisive step, let 
me implore the royal protection for my innocent chil- 
dren, and for my last cook, Anna Weninger." He 
then gave directions for the disposal of his property. 
" And now receive my sincere confession : Catherine 
has spoken falsely on many points, but her assertions 


are in the main true, for it was I who deprived Anna 
Eichstadter of life." 

After this the criminal gave, in thirteen several 
examinations, a narrative of the whole transaction. 
His motive to the crime was the dread lest Anna 
Eichstadter should unmask him before the world, rob 
him of his honour and good name, and ruin his 
prospect of preferment. Anna declared, said Riem- 
bauer, " when I met her at Ratisbon, that she would 
not part from me. I represented to her most strongly 
that it was impossible for me to take her, but all in 
vain. My position, my reputation, everything that 
was sacred and dear to me, would be endangered by 
her coming to Lauterbach. I thought within myself, 
' What is to be done should she come ?' and I sud- 
denly remembered the maxim laid down by Father 
Benedict Stattler in his Ethica Christiana* accord - 

* The chief passages from which Riembauer selected his dictamen 
practicum are the 1889th, 1891st, and 1893rd paragraphs of this 
truly antichristian Ethica Christiana, which appeared in 1789, in 
six thick volumes. In the above-named paragraphs a Christian is 
allowed to prevent a " contumelia gravis certo proviso, aut perquam 
dolore molesta, aut magnopere ignomi?iiosa" or a " calumnia," by the 
murder of the " injusti aggressoris" or " injusti calumniatoris." 
This species of morality would clearly justify a man in secretly 
murdering any one who might be suspected of designing a secret 
attack on his honour. This is further proved by the 1893rd para- 
graph, in which a man is permitted to rid himself of an enemy : 
" Si non ipsa occisione injusti calumniatoris tantundem periculi 
infamies incurramus, quantum vitare declinatione calumnite in- 
tendimus :" also " Si tantundem periculi nobis ex occisione calum- 
niatoris immineat, profecto utile remedium occisio esse non potest, 
ac proinde nee licitum" that is, the murder should only take place 
when it can be committed with secrecy and security. There is 
nothing, however infamous, for which Father Stattler's Christian 
ethics do not afford a justification. The 1894th paragraph permits 


ing to which it is lawful to deprive another of life, 
when honour and reputation cannot be otherwise 
maintained ; for honour is of higher value than life, 
and the law of necessity holds good against those who 
attack our honour, as much as against robbers. I 

thought over this maxim, which Professor St 

used formerly to explain to us young ecclesiastics in 
his lectures; and finding that it exactly applied to 
my own predicament, I took it as my dictamen prac- 
ticum. My honour, thought I, will be lost, should 
this wicked woman come to Lauterbach and carry her 
threat into execution. I shall be suspended by the 
consistory, my property will be forfeited, and my 
name will become a reproach and a byeword through- 
out the diocese. Although I had considered this 
maxim of Stattler's for some time past, and applied it 
to my own position, still it was but an idea, and I 
had not yet formed any plan for putting it in practice." 

While he was engaged in these meditations, the 
month of November, 1807, found him in arrear with 
his payments to Anna Eichstadter for the support of 
her child ; and as he had no ready money, he lived in 
daily dread lest she should come or write to Lau- 

On All Souls' day, the '2nd of November, towards 

calumny to be met by calumny : Licet certam gravem calumniam 
qufe nullo alto remedio, hoc uno autem certo et efficaciter, de pelli 
potest, enervare imponendo calumniatori falsum crimen prcecise 
tale^ nee majus quam necesse sit, et sufficiat ad elidendam calum- 
niatoris auctoritatem ac Jidem, etfamam propriam dependendam I 
Riembauer, of course, reckoned Anna Eichstadter among his injustos 
aggressores. Father Stattler's book is printed cum permissu supe- 
riorum, and is still used in several places as a manual for ecclesi- 
astics ! 


evening, as he was carting home turnips, accompanied 
by Magdalena Frauenknecht, he recognised, to his 
utter dismay, Anna Eichstadter entering the house at 

He found her in the lower room, and after a short 
conversation took her with him up stairs. " I at first 
intended," said he, " to hide her in the loft, so that 
Magdalena might not see her. But it was already 
too dark, and we turned back half way. I must con- 
fess that for a moment I thought of throwing her 
down the stairs, and I don't exactly know why I did 
not ; I was filled with terror, and perhaps I thought 
within myself that she might only break a limb in 
the fall, and that then matters would be worse than 

In his room Eichstadter told him that she was re- 
solved to know what she had to expect, and insisted 
on his taking her as his cook, arid getting rid of Mag- 
dalena. Riembauer endeavoured to pacify her by 
explaining the nature of his connexion with the 
Frauenknechts, and the impossibility of complying 
with her demands, but in vain. 

He then left her, under pretence of fetching her 
some beer, went down stairs where, he asserts, con- 
trary to all probability, that Magdalena persuaded 
him to murder Eichstadter took a bread -knife and 
his razor, and returned to Eichstadter, who reiterated 
her demands with great violence and many threats 
of denouncing him to justice and before the consis- 
tory, and of publishing his true character everywhere. 
At this critical moment Father Stattler's maxim again 
recurred to his mind, and he seized the bread-knife 
and stabbed Eichstadter with it on the right side of 


her throat ; but finding the knife too blunt, he dropped 
it, and she endeavoured to defend herself; he then held 
her by the throat, gave her a heavy blow on the back 
of her head, thrust his fingers into her mouth, and 
tried to choke her, exhorting her in the mean time to 
repentance and confession, as she must die. She re- 
plied by earnestly entreating him to spare her life ; 
" then," said he, " I took the razor out of my pocket, 
embraced her from behind, and with my right hand 
put the blade to her throat, while with my left I 
forced it into her windpipe. I instantly perceived 
by her sobs that I had made a deep incision, and I 
dropped the razor. She remained standing for three 
or four minutes, during which I said to her, ' Marian- 
del, I pray to God and to you for pardon : you would 
have it so. Pray to God for forgiveness of your sins, 
and I will give you absolution.' I accordingly gave 
it her, as it was in casu necessitatis. She then tot- 
tered, as if her knees were failing under her ; and I 
took her under the arms, and let her down gently ; 
for a few minutes longer I gave her religious consola- 
tion as she lay on the floor, until she began to kick 
and struggle, and presently breathed her last." 

After the murder, he went down stairs to the 
Frauenknechts, upon whom he enjoined silence, and 
washed the blood from his hands ; but all at once he 
heard a noise of trampling and scuffling overhead. 
" One of the Frauenknechts," continued the prisoner, 
" cried out, ' Jesus and Mary! the woman is come to 
life again ;' and I hastened up stairs in continued evil 
disposition, firmly resolved on no account to sufler 
Eichstadter to return to life, as she would be still more 


formidable to me after this catastrophe ; so I drew her 
neckerchief tighter, partly to hasten her death and 
partly to shorten her sufferings : whether she then 
moved, I cannot determine." 

He maintained, in direct contradiction to Catherine's 
statement, that the corpse lay the whole of the next 
day in his room, and that it was not until the night of 
the 3rd November that he buried it in the closet in 
the outhouse. He owned that he himself had dug the 
hole, but asserted that Magdalena and her mother had 
helped him to carry the body down the stairs and 
into the outhouse, and to bury it there ; this scene we 
will describe in Riembauer's own words: " The grave 
which I had dug was too short and too shallow, so 
that the head and the arms, which had stiffened in an 
attitude of entreaty, projected far above the sand. I 
therefore stamped with both feet, and with the whole 
weight of my body, upon the corpse, in which I heard 
a strange rumbling noise. I then covered it with 
more sand, and some time afterwards with brick 
rubbish, because a woman who had come to thresh 
stumbled over one of the hands which protruded from 
the earth." 

He afterwards confessed that in carrying Eich- 
stadter's body down the stairs one of her shoes fell off, 
which he chopped in pieces and threw upon the dung- 
hill ; likewise that he appropriated to himself her 
silver buckle, her purse containing about two florins, 
and the green umbrella belonging to the priest at 

P , and that he effaced the bloody stains partly 

by washing them with warm water and partly by 
planing the boards. " And now," he continued, " I 


have nothing further to tell about this sad story, save 
my silent grief and sorrow, and that I have applied* 
frequent masses for the soul of Anna Eichstadter." 

Even after confessing every circumstance of the 
crime, he showed no true repentance ; but continued 
to exert his skill in casuistry to justify or extenuate 
the murder. Sometimes he would maintain that his 
hands had been impelled by terror, fear, and sudden 
impulse, and that the gash had thus been inflicted 
without the consent of his reason. When it was ob- 
jected to him that this excuse stood in direct contra- 
diction to his assertion of having acted upon the 
maxim of Father Stattler, he attempted to prove that 
his reasoning powers were lulled to sleep by the 
maxim in question, while horror and dread rendered 
all further action merely mechanical. Another time 
he would quote the doctrine thai all means are justi- 
fied by the end, and would prove that his purpose 
being noble, his action could not be criminal. " I 
had no object but that of preventing the many evils 
and sins arising from public scandal, and of up- 
holding the honour of the clergy and the reverence 
due to my sacred calling. Had I not stood in such 
high consideration with the people, I might more 
readily have submitted to the disgrace. But I foresaw 
that the discovery of my crime would bring with it a 
train of evils ; that many men would henceforth think 
all sins permitted ; some would cease to believe in 
God, others would no longer hold anything sacred." 
Thus Riembauer not only committed murder ad ma- 

* An expression which shows the estimation in which this priest 
held the holy offices of his church : he talks of applying a mass as 
an apothecary would of applying a blister. 


jorem Dei gloriam, but for the same cause persevered 
for four long years in denying his crime. " It was," 
said he, " only in order to preserve the honour of the 
clergy in my person that I pined so many years in 
captivity without confessing my crime. But as soon 
as I perceived that it was the will of God that I 
should reveal the deed, I made a full confession." 
So utterly perverted and corrupt was the mind of this 
Tartuffe, that he actually boasted that he had deserved 
well of the State by his deceit and hypocrisy. " I have 
openly confessed," says he, " my manner of life, and I 
think myself entitled to some indulgence for so govern- 
ing my conduct as to cause no public scandal." 

With regard to the alleged poisoning of Magdalena 
Frauenknecht and her mother, no proof was forth- 
coming;. The bodies were exhumed in 1813, but no 


trace of poison was discovered, and everything led to 
the conclusion that they died of a nervous fever which 
at that time raged in the district of the Danube, 
and which killed many persons in the neighbourhood, 
among others an Austrian soldier, who, from charity, 
was taken into the manse, and nursed by Magdalena 
herself. Riembauer denied having any hand in the 
death of these two women. 

Several other circumstances appeared during the 
course of inquiry ; among others, a charge of forging 
a document for 635 florins, in which the grounds 
of suspicion were very strong against the prisoner, 
although he did not confess. In his 107th examina- 
tion, he related that once when the innkeeper of 
Grafentraubach refused him a loan of money, he had 
meditated burning his house down. This was to 
prove that sinful thoughts are not crimes. He also 


said, in another examination, in order to show his 
sincerity, that he had once fervently prayed to God to 
destroy some man who was hateful to him, and that 
the man had died, probably from the effect of his 

However, the murder of Anna Eichstadter was the 
chief point under consideration of the court. 

So long as Riembauer denied his guilt, the whole 
force of the examination was directed to cumulate 
evidence against him. Catherine's testimony was on 
some points defective. Riembauer's confession re- 
moved all difficulties, and changed the whole posture 
of affairs. 

It was confirmed beyond doubt by the evidence of 
Riembauer's own brother, who up to this time had 
resolutely denied, in the face of several witnesses, all 
knowledge of his brother's crime. He now made the 
following statement : 

" I am indeed in a most terrible position : Riem- 
bauer is not only my brother, but has also been my 
constant benefactor ; gratitude and fraternal love have 
induced me hitherto to deny all knowledge of the 
murder of Eichstadter, but now* that my brother has 
himself confessed the dreadful deed, I may speak 
without incurring the reproach of ingratitude. I once 
visited my brother at his parsonage at Priel, and 
stayed there three or four weeks : one evening his 
cookmaid, Magdalena Frauenknecht, a good quiet 
girl, came to my bedside, and began to weep bitterly. 
I asked her why she cried, and she answered, * Ah ! 
brother, if you knew what I know, you would cry 
too ! ' " 

Riembauer's brother then repeated Magdalena's 


statement, which exactly coincided with that of 
Catherine, save only that she admitted that she her- 
self was present at the murder, and helped her master 
to carry the body into the outhouse, and to bury it 
there. Her reason for confiding the story to Riem- 
bauer's brother was, that the farmer who had bought 
Thomashof of him was then digging in the out- 
house, and she was afraid lest the body might be 
discovered. " I knew not what to say," continued 
his brother, " save my horror of the crime, and that 
I could advise her nothing, but to let things take their 

Riembauer's confession is complete, consistent in 
all its parts, and legally sufficient. It tallied with a 
number of facts which were proved by other wit- 
nesses. It was certain that Anna Eichstadter had a 
child by Riembauer, that she pressed him for money, 
and that at the time of the murder he had none to 
give to her. It was further proved that Eichstadter 
had left Priel on All Souls' day, 1807, and might 
easily have reached Lauterbach the same day, and 
that she was never after seen alive. On the very spot 
described by Riembauer himself the skeleton of a 
woman was found, which was recognised by the teeth 
as that of Anna Eichstadter. Six years after the 
murder there were spots of blood upon the floor of 
Riembauer's room, as well as marks of the plane, evi- 
dently made in endeavouring to obliterate the traces 
of the murder. Only one shoe was found Riem- 
bauer mentioned having chopped the other in pieces. 

According to the common law of Germany, the 
proof of a murder having been committed, confirmed 
by the confession of the murderer, justifies sentence 


of death ;* and in Riembauer's case the fact had been 
fully proved and the confession made ; nor were there 
any extenuating circumstances which should mitigate 
the severity of the usual punishment. 

Nevertheless, on the 1st August, 1818, the court 
passed the following sentence on the criminal : 

" Francis Salesius Riembauer is found guilty of 
murder, and is condemned to imprisonment of the 
severest kind in a fortress for life." 

The reasons assigned for so lenient a sentence were, 
first, that the fact of the murder was not clearly 
proved, as the skeleton, which had lain six years in 
the damp earth, bore no marks of violence ;f and 
secondly, that Riembauer's character was not notori- 
ously bad.J 

* Stubel fiber den That bestand der Verbrechen. 

f Art. 27 1 of the Bavarian code. 

J When the fact of a murder having been committed rests chiefly 
on the murderer's confession, the Bavarian penal code (art. 269, 
2) requires that " the accused should be either a notorious cri- 
minal, or one proved by the clearest circumstantial evidence to be 
a person from whom a crime such as that of which he is accused 
may be expected." Feuerbach adduces several excellent but 
obvious arguments against this law, and states his opinion that in 
this particular case every condition required by law was fulfilled, 
and every defect in the evidence supplied by the confession. 




IN the year 1817 there lived in the town of M 

a goldsmith of the name of Christopher Rupprecht. 
He was between the ages of sixty and sixty-five, and 
in easy circumstances. He had been twelve years a 
widower, and had but one child living, a daughter, 
married to a furrier named Bieringer, a brother and 
two sisters. Rupprecht could neither read nor write, 
and therefore kept no accounts either of his trade or of 
the money he lent out at interest, but trusted entirely 
to his memory and to the assistance he occasionally re- 
ceived from others in arranging and drawing up his bills. 
He was a man of vulgar mind and coarse habits, fond 
of associating with people of the very lowest class, and 
of frequenting alehouses, where his chief delight was 
in slang and abuse, and where he suffered himself to 
be made the butt of the roughest jokes and the most 
vulgar witticisms. His ruling passion was avarice, 
and his favourite business the lending money at 
usurious interest. Though rich, he deprived himself 
of necessaries, and was glad when his sister or his 
daughter sent him a dinner; and for a long time 
after his wife's death he kept no servant, in order 
to save food and wages. Two days before the occur- 


rence which caused the present inquiry, he had 
taken one into his service. Hard, morose, and repul- 
sive, as a miser is apt to be, and at the same time 
crotchety, violent, and ready on the most trifling oc- 
casion to use abusive language, he kept most of his 
family at a distance. His daughter and his sister 
Clara visited him regularly, but his brother, with 
whom he had a law-suit, and his other sister, avoided 
his company ; he had also quarrelled with his son-in- 
law several months before, and had ceased to see him 
from that time. He was cross-grained and quarrelsome, 
continually at law with his neighbours, and on bad 
terms with a number of people, though no one could 
be pointed out as his declared enemy. 

For about a year he had been in the daily habit of 
frequenting a small beer-shop, commonly called the 
Hell. To this place, which was scarce fifty yards 
distant from his own house, Rupprecht went on the 
7th February, at half-past eight in the evening, in his 
dressing-gown and with a leathern cap on his head. 
The party assembled there consisted of eleven respect- 
able burghers, who sat talking and drinking together 
till about half-past ten, when Rupprecht called for an- 
other glass of beer, and the host left the upper parlour 
where his guests were assembled, and went down 
into the tap to fetch it. As he was going up stairs 
with the beer, and had almost reached the top, he 
heard the bell over the street-door, and on asking what 
was wanted, he was answered in a strange voice by 
the inquiry whether Mr. Rupprecht was there. With- 
out looking round, the host answered that he was, 
and the stranger requested him to desire Rupprecht to 
step down to him for a moment. The host delivered 



the message to his guest, who instantly rose and left 
the room. Scarcely a minute had elapsed, when the 
other guests were alarmed by hearing loud groans 
like those of a person in a fit of apoplexy. They all 
hastened down stairs, and found Rupprecht lying 
just within the door, covered with blood which was 
pouring out of a large wound on his head. About a 
foot and a half from the body lay his cap, cut evi- 
dently by a sharp instrument. He was only able to 
mutter the words "Wicked rogue! wicked rogue! with 
the axe !" When asked whether he knew who had 
done it, he made an effort to speak, but no one could 
understand what he said. The guests carried him 
into the parlour, where he began to moan and mutter 
unintelligibly. Excited by the questions of one of the 
guests as to whether he knew the man, he distinctly 
said " My daughter ! my daughter !" which was under- 
stood to mean that he wished to see Madame Bieringer: 
she was accordingly informed of what had happened, 
and brought to the house by one of those present ; but 
Rupprecht apparently did not recognise her; he was 
insensible, and lay moaning like one in a fit, with 
his head drooping upon his breast and his limbs 

The physician and surgeon attached to the Criminal 
Court were sent for, and found a wound four inches 
long, which had penetrated the skull. This they 
attributed to a blow from some sharp heavy instru- 
ment according to all appearances a large sabre, 
wielded by a practised hand. 

The Hell Tavern stands in the end of a narrow 
dark alley, from which there is no outlet. The side 
on which is the door forms an angle with the opposite 


house, so deep that no light falls into it by night. 
Two stone steps lead up to the house-door, of which 
one wing only opens, and is provided with a bell. 
Outside the door, on the left of these steps, is a stone 
bench. The hall within is small, narrow, and little 
more than six feet high ; the wound could not there- 
fore have been inflicted upon Rupprecht in the hall, 
as space and height were required to give force to 
the blow. It would moreover have been madness to 
attempt the deed in a passage which was lighted by 
an oil-lamp, which, though dim, would have enabled 
the victim or a passer by to recognise the murderer. 
In the hall, too, Rupprecht coming down the stairs 
would have met his enemy face to face, and must 
have seen him prepare for the attack, from which he 
might easily have escaped by running to the rooms 

Supposing the wound which slanted downward, 
and had evidently been inflicted from behind to have 
been given during Rupprecht's flight up the stairs, 
those who ran down on hearing his screams would 
have found the wounded man on the staircase, or at 
any rate close to the foot of it. But he was found 
just within the house-door, and it is far more likely 
that, after receiving the wound outside, he tottered 
back into the hall and fell there, than that he should 
have attempted to reach the house-door after being 
wounded in endeavouring to escape up the stairs. 

Again, the wound was on the left side of the head, 
and the dark corner we have before mentioned is on 
the left hand of any one leaving the tavern. The 
probability therefore is that Rupprecht received the 
wound on the very door-step. In this case he had 



but to totter one step back to fall on the spot where 
he was found. It would have been scarcely possible 
for one in Rupprecht' s condition to retain sufficient 
strength to crawl up the steps from the street into 
the hall. 

On the other hand, it would have been impossible 
for the murderer, standing in the street, to have struck 
Rupprecht from behind, while he stood on the door- 
steps. This difficulty is, however, completely removed 
by the stone bench on the left of the door, which we 
have already mentioned. 

Thus all circumstances combine to make us con- 
clude that the occurrence took place as follows : As 
soon as the murderer had requested the landlord to 
send Rupprecht down to him, he went into the dark 
corner on the left, mounted the stone bench near the 
door-steps, and stood there in readiness to strike. 
Rupprecht went down stairs, expecting to find some 
one who wanted to speak to him on business, and 
seeing no one in the passage, went outside the door 
and turned to look down the street after the man who 
had sent for him, when he was struck a well-aimed 
heavy blow from the stone bench behind him. 

Nothing was found on or near the spot that could 
throw the slightest suspicion on any one, nor could 
any person present form a conjecture as to the author 
or the motive of the deed. 

Something, it was hoped, would be learnt from 
the wounded man himself when he should have reco- 
vered consciousness. On the evening of the following 
day, the 8th of February, the judge and two other 
officers of the court accordingly visited him, and 
found him sensible. He frequently said " Oh, dear ! 


Oh, dear !" and when he wished for something to 
drink, he pronounced the word beer plainly enough. 
Conceiving him to be in a fit state to give information, 
the judge asked him the following questions, which 
were thus answered by the wounded man : Who 
struck you the blow ? " Schmidt." What Schmidt? 
"Woodcutter." Where does he live? "In the 
Most." With what did he strike you ? " Hatchet." 
How did you recognise him ? " By his voice." Does 
Schmidt owe you money ? He shook his head. What 
then could have induced Schmidt to do such a thing ? 
" Quarrel." As Rupprecht was unable to speak 
connectedly, no questions were asked about the nature 
of this quarrel. But when the first and second ques- 
tions were again put to him, he distinctly repeated 
the words " Schmidt woodcutter." The judge or- 
dered that an officer of the court should be in con- 
stant attendance on the wounded man, in order to 
gather every word that might fall from his lips. In 
this man's presence Rupprecht continually repeated 
" Schmidt woodcutter," whenever any one, his maid- 
servant, his daughter, his sister, or his son-in-law 
asked him who the murderer was. Only when his 
sister Clara asked him if he knew who had struck the 
blow, he muttered something apparently in the nega- 

The first though not the sole object of the judge 
now was to discover the Schmidt of whom Rupprecht 
was thinking. But in this town, as everywhere else, 
there were a vast number of people called Schmidt, 
several of whom were woodcutters. Three of these 
especially engaged the attention of the court : the first 
was a certain Abraham Schmidt, who lived in the 


Hohes Pflaster, and who, it was rumoured, had once 
been taken up with a band of robbers and been sent 
to the House of Correction. The second was one John 
Gabriel Schmidt, commonly known as " big Schmidt/' 
who lived in a street called the Walch, and had for- 
merly been on friendly terms with Rupprecht, whose 
favour he had lately lost by some evidence which he 
gave against him in an action for defamation. The 
third was big Schmidt's half-brother, distinguished 
from him by the name of " little Schmidt :" he also 
lived in the Walch, and was one of Rupprecht's 

This seemed to point out the direction in which in- 
vestigation should be made. On the 10th February 
the physician announced that Rupprecht had been 
trepanned the day before and was now sensible, and 
a commission of inquiry with two witnesses accord- 
ingly went to his house. The judge seated himself 
beside the bed and greeted Rupprecht, who opened 
his eyes, looked about him, and distinctly answered 
" Yes " to the judge's question whether he knew 
him. The judge, convinced by this and other ap- 
pearances that the wounded man was in the possession 
of his faculties, desired him to remember that, when 
asked about his wound, he had always mentioned a 
name in connection with it, told him that the commis- 
sion was now come to take down his deposition in the 
presence of witnesses, and adjured him to reflect upon 
the danger in which he lay, the infinite knowledge 
and justice of God, and the awful consequences of 
every false word. Then came the following questions 
and answers. " Do you know who struck the blow ?" 
Rupprecht repeatedly moved his right hand, imitating 


the motion of striking, and answered " Schmidt." 
" Have I understood you aright ? did you say 
Schmidt?" "Yes." "Who is this Schmidt?" 
" Woodcutter." " How do you know that it was 
Schmidt, since it was dark ?" Rupprecht endeavoured 
to speak, but could not utter a sound : he then moved 
his right arm with increased vehemence. " But there 
are several of that name ; can you tell me whether 
you mean the big or the little Schmidt?" Rupprecht 
made vain attempts to answer this and the question 
where the Schmidt lived to whom he referred. When 
asked whether he lived in the Walch, the Schiitt, or 
the Most, Rupprecht was silent. At last, when asked 
whether Schmidt lived on the Hohes Pflaster, he dis- 
tinctly answered "Yes." Hereupon he sunk into a 
state of stupor, and the inquiry had to be postponed. 

As equal suspicion attached to the three Schmidts 
above named, Abraham, as well as the big and the 
little Schmidt, were arrested that evening; and not- 
withstanding the alarming condition of the wounded 
man, they were severally taken to his bed-side on the 
chance that the murderer might be recognised by 
Rupprecht, or that fresh cause for suspicion might 
appear against him on the occasion. Rupprecht ap- 
peared sensible, but could not open his eyes, so that 
the main object entirely failed. Both the big and 
the little Schmidt appeared perfectly unembarrassed : 
the former exclaimed several times, " Poor Christo- 
pher! how ill you have been served poor fellow, 
many's the good jest we have had together. He must 
have owed you a powerful grudge who could serve 
you so." He likewise called to him repeatedly, 


" Christopher ! Christopher ! your Hans is here," &c. 
Abraham Schmidt behaved far differently : when 
asked whether he knew the man in bed, he at first 
answered " I do not know him," but immediately 
added, " That is Mr. Rupprecht, I know him well ; 
what is the matter with him ?" When asked why he 
at first said he did not know him, he answered, " Be- 
cause that is Mr. Rupprecht." He was then desired 
to give a proper answer, but only exclaimed, " I can 
give no answer ; I did not do it ; ah ! good Lord ! I 
did not do it ; I am not the man ; as I hope for 
mercy, I am innocent. I am a poor woodcutter. 
You may ask my neighbours, my wife, and my 
mother. On Friday night I was cutting pegs at the 
house of my mother-in-law till eleven o'clock, and 
on Saturday and Sunday I was at home." On being 
asked at what hour he had gone home on Friday 
night, he said, " I stayed until past nine with my 
mother-in-law." When the manifest contradiction in 
his statement was pointed out to him, he only repeated 
" From nine to eleven." These strange contradictory 
answers and the agitation and confusion exhibited by 
the prisoner, together with the circumstance that 
Rupprecht had that morning mentioned Schmidt on 
the Hohes Pflaster, seemed to point suspicion towards 
Abraham Schmidt, who was accordingly placed in 

The following morning, at about five o'clock (the 
llth February), Rupprecht died, without having reco- 
vered his speech or consciousness. 

Meanwhile suspicion strengthened against Abra- 
ham Schmidt. The police handed the hatchets be- 


longing to the three suspected men "into court, and 
that of Abraham Schmidt was spotted apparently 
with blood. 

On his examination he stated that he was about 
six-and-thirty, a Lutheran, and the son of a nail- 
maker, and that he had at first learnt the trade of 
pinmaking, but that finding it insufficient for his sup- 
port, he had become a woodcutter. He had been 
married five years, and had had two children, of which 
one, a boy a year and a half old, was living. He had 
once been in prison, about twelve or fifteen years 
before, for carting some stolen vegetables into the 
town for other people. He asserted that he was per- 
fectly innocent of the murder of Rupprecht, whom he 
had neither known nor seen. Hereupon he was re- 
minded that when the wounded man was shown to 
him, he had at first said that he did not know him, but 
had immediately after recognised him as Rupprecht : 
how was this ? He then replied, " I do not know why 
I said that, and I said it was Rupprecht directly, but 
I never saw him in my life before." He was asked 
how then he had recognised him, and answered that 
" every one was talking of the murder, and that he 
had heard of it at the public-house." Whenever he 
was questioned as to where he was on Friday evening 
at the time of the murder, he invariably involved 
himself in contradictions. The judge questioned 
him as follows : " Where were you last Friday ?" 
" I went to the house of my mother-in-law at nine 
o'clock in the morning, to help her to cut pegs. I 
dined with her, and did not leave her house till nine 
o'clock at night, when I took my little boy home, 


went to bed directly, and did not get up again until 
seven o'clock on Saturday morning." "When did 
your wife leave her mother's house?" "At ten 
o'clock." "Why did you not go together?" " Because 
she was still at work, and as the boy would not go to 
sleep, she asked me to take him home, which I did." 
" At what o'clock then did you go home on Friday ?" 
" At nine o'clock." " Yesterday you said it was at 
eleven; how is that?" After some hesitation, "I don't 
know what you want of me ; I went home with my 
wife at eleven." "Just now you asserted that you 
went home at nine ?" " All my neighbours can testify 
that I always come home at nine." "That answer 
will not suffice ; first you say nine, and then eleven : 
which is the truth ?" " At nine o'clock, with my wife 
and my child. No, my wife stayed a little longer with 
her mother." " Who took the child home ?" " I took 
him home with me at nine o'clock." " When did your 
wife come home?" "After ten o'clock." "How do 
you know that?" " Because she always comes home 
at that time ; I was asleep when she came, and can't 
tell exactly when it was. I did not wake, though 
I sleep in the same bed with her and the child." 
" Have you a key of the house ?" " Yes, but my mother 
has got it." " How then did your wife get in ?" " My 
wife took the key with her." " You said at first that 
your mother had the key the whole night through ?" 
" Yes, it lay upon the table." " Then your wife could 
not have used it to let herself into the house ?" " So 
I said, for my wife went home with me and put the 
boy to bed, and then she took the house-door key and 
went back to her mother." " How long did she stay 


there?" "Till eleven." "You said before that she 
came home at ten ?" "I was asleep, I can't tell whe- 
ther it was ten or eleven when she came home." 

At first the accused did not seem embarrassed, and 
answered readily, but appeared anxious to avoid 
entering into details ; and on being told that he 
contradicted himself, he grew impatient, hesitated, 
coughed, and stamped. He did not encounter the 
searching gaze of the judge, but looked down or on 
one side. 

The same evening Rupprecht's dead body was 
shown to him, and he was asked whether he recog- 
nised it. " This," he answered, " is Mr. Rupprecht. 
I can swear to you by my conscience and my honour, 
and to Almighty God by my hope of salvation, that 
I never injured this man ; for I never saw him before 
in all my life." " You say you never saw him before 
now ; how then do you know him ?" " I heard of 
him from the people here and in the public-house, 
besides I saw him yesterday. My heart and my soul 
are free from guilt : I never harmed this man. I am 
in your power, and you may do with me what you 
will, I am a child of innocence." When the accused 
first entered the room, he appeared much oppressed 
and overcome, but while asserting his innocence his 
firmness soon returned. 

The person of the prisoner had been carefully 
examined when he was first taken to prison, but no 
stain of blood was found upon his body or his clothes. 
His house, and that of his step-mother, were rigidly 
searched, and in them were found tokens of great 
poverty, but not of crime. 

He accounted for the blood on his hatchet by 


saying that his hand was chapped with the cold, 
and had bled the day before, and that this might 
have caused the stains. But these stains were close 
to the blade, and it was his right hand which was 
chapped, whereas in chopping wood the left hand 
would naturally be nearest to the blade of the axe, 
while the right hand grasped the handle. On further 
inquiry, however, the accused was found to be left- 
handed, which solved the difficulty. 

A comparison of the axe with the wound and the 
cut in the leathern cap rendered it, to say the least, 
very doubtful whether such a weapon could have been 
the one employed : the edge of the axe was only 
three inches and one-third in length, while the wound 
measured four inches, and the cut in the cap nearly 
four inches and a half; and an axe cannot be drawn 
in striking. 

As the murderer had called to the landlord of the 
tavern to send Rupprecht down to him, the trial was 
made whether Abraham Schmidt could be recognised 
by his voice as the assassin. The landlord at first 
doubted the possibility of such a recognition, as he 
had paid no particular attention to the voice at the 
time, and the subsequent fright had driven all recol- 
lection of it out of his head the experiment could, 
however, do no harm. The judge sent for Schmidt 
into the audience-chamber, while the landlord was 
placed in an adjoining room, where he could hear, 
but not see, the prisoner. He declared without 
hesitation that Schmidt's voice was much rougher 
than that of the person who came to his house on the 
night of the 7th February, which was like the voice 
of a woman. 


The witnesses who were examined as to where the 
prisoner was when the murder took place, in great 
part removed the suspicion which he had raised 
against himself by his confused and contradictory 
statements. His mother-in-law, Barbara Lang, said 
that " Schmidt, with his wife and child, had come to 
her at half-past seven in the morning, as they usually 
did when he had no chopping to do, in order to save 
fuel and candles. They stayed all day, and at half- 
past nine or a quarter to ten he went away with his 
little child and his wife, who lighted him home. The 
latter returned and stayed with her another hour or 
hour and a half, making pegs." The wife's account 
did not exactly tally with this in point of time, as she 
said that they left Barbara Lang's house at a quarter 
to nine ; but in other respects her statement agreed 
with her mother's, with the further addition that 
" when they got home she waited while her husband 
undressed and went to bed with the child, as she 
wanted the lantern to light her to her mother's house 
and back again home. When she returned, at about 
ten, she found her husband asleep, and woke him, as 
he took up too much room in the bed. He asked 
what o'clock it was, and she told him it was ten. 
He certainly did not leave her side after that." She 
added, " This is as true as that my poor child is now 
at my breast" she had brought the child into court 
with her. The woman in whose house the Schmidts 
lodged confirmed this statement in every particular. 

The discrepancy between the assertions of the 
several witnesses as to the time when Schmidt and 
his wife returned to their lodgings is easily accounted 
for, when we consider that they were poor people 


who had no clocks or watches, and that it was in 
the month of February. It is true that there was 
an interval of about an hour between the time of 
Schmidt's coming home and his wife's return. But 
the distance from the Hohes Pflaster to the Hell Tavern 
is above a mile, and a murder requires some pre- 
paration. Here, however, was a commonplace, good 
sort of man, who passed the whole evening with 
his old mother-in-law, employed with his wife in 
cutting pegs to earn a crust of bread returned 
home with his child in his arms, his wife carrying 
a lantern, and went to bed with his child whom 
we must then suppose to have jumped out of bed the 
moment his wife's back was turned, to have seized an 
axe, and leaving his child, to have hastened to the 
spot where he committed a murder remarkable for 
cunning and cruelty, hurried back into bed, where he 
was found shortly afterwards by his wife, fast asleep. 
All this, too, without any one in the house hearing any 
noise, and without leaving a trace of the murder on 
his person. The only way to account for this would 
be to suppose the wife to be an accomplice, a suppo- 
sition for which there was not the slightest foundation. 
The evidence of one Anna Keinitz, an old woman 
of seventy-eight, proved that on the 8th of February 
Abraham Schmidt was in all probability ignorant 
of the murder committed on the previous evening. 
Returning from market she passed Rupprecht's house, 
where she heard the news. On her way home she 
stepped in at neighbour Barbara Lang's to warm 
herself, and found Schmidt and his wife were 
cutting pegs, as he had no chopping to do. Anna 
Keinitz related what she had heard. Schmidt asked 


her who this Rupprecht was ? She answered that he 
lived near the butchers' stalls ; and the mother-in-law 
added, " It is Rupprecht who so often comes to the 
tavern do not you know him?" Schmidt replied 
carelessly, " I do not." 

On the 9th February, Schmidt was at a tavern 
called the Sow, where several guests were discussing 
the murder. Schmidt said nothing, and showed no 
embarrassment; his manner was, as usual, quiet and 

The evidence of the two men who by turns watched 
the dying man, completely overthrew one of the chief 
causes of suspicion against Schmidt. They stated 
that when the maid or Rupprecht's daughter asked 
the wounded man where Schmidt lived, he answered 
indifferently, " On the Hohes Pflaster," or " In the 

Schmidt's bad repute, owing to a vague recollection 
of some former transgression which vulgar exaggera- 
tion had magnified into a great crime, disappeared 
on further inquiry. All who were questioned about 
Abraham Schmidt's conduct his landlord, his neigh- 
bours, and the superintendent of police of the district 
described him as a very poor, hard-working, peace- 
able, good-natured man, and a good husband and 

His strange conduct in the presence of the dying- 
man, and his contradictory statements, were thus 
accounted for. According to his mother's testimony, 
he was hard of hearing, timid, and awkward. The 
smallest trifle made him lose all presence of mind, 
and he was often so confused as to say the very 
opposite of what he meant about things the most 


familiar to him. "I believe," said the magistrate of 
his district, " that there is not any one in my whole 
district who is so blundering. For instance, he seldom 
calls any one by his right name ; and when he does 
not understand what is said to him, or cannot express 
his meaning, he is apt to be angry." And this poor 
blockhead he knew not why or wherefore was sud- 
denly dragged into the presence of a dying man, 
whom he found himself accused of having murdered, 
and, while agitated and dismayed by a scene so strange, 
solemn and terrible, questions were put to him about 
the most minute and trifling circumstances questions 
the drift of which he was too stupid and confused to 

The contradictory statements which he made con- 
cerning many important details, were manifestly the 
result of the prisoner's habitual confusion of ideas and 
defective memory. His recognition of Rupprecht, 
joined to his declaration that he did not know him, 
would have appeared perfectly consistent had he pos- 
sessed the power of expressing himself intelligibly. 
Without having ever seen Rupprecht he must have 
guessed that the wounded man lying before him could 
have been none other than the Rupprecht whose acci- 
dent was in every one's mouth. 

Nothing now remained which could throw any sus- 
picion on Abraham Schmidt, and the court endeavoured 
to follow out the slight traces of suspicion against John 
Gabriel Schmidt and his half-brother Erhard Diiringer. 
The former, commonly called big Schmidt, was a mar- 
ried man of forty, with one child ; the latter, generally 
known as little Schmidt, was twenty-seven, also mar- 
ried and had two children. Both were woodcutters, 


and lived together on excellent terms in the same 
house. Both were boon companions of Rupprecht's, 
who was much in their company, particularly in that of 
John Gabriel, whom he familiarly called his Hans, and 
with whom he amused himself with all sorts of vulgar 
pranks and coarse jokes. This intercourse had, how- 
ever, been interrupted a few months before Rupprecht's 
death by a dispute between the quarrelsome jeweller 
and the overseers of the district, Friedmann and 
Gotz. The last-named men were accordingly arrested 
on the suspicion that if they did not actually murder 
him themselves, they might have induced one of these 
woodcutters to become the instrument of their ven- 
geance. The quarrel had arisen one evening when 
Friedmann, the two Schmidts, and several other per- 
sons were sitting together in a tavern, on which occa- 
sion Rupprecht used some very offensive expressions 
with regard to the other overseer Gotz, accusing 
him of gross partiality and injustice in the adminis- 
tration of his office. Friedmann and Gotz complained 
to the police, and the two Schmidts were summoned 
as witnesses. Rupprecht was condemned to an im- 
prisonment of eight and forty hours on bread and 
water, and to make an apology to Gotz. He en- 
deavoured to revenge himself by bringing an action 
for defamation against Friedmann and Gotz, which 
was still pending when Rupprecht was murdered. 

But on examination these suspicious melted away, 
and Rupprecht appeared to have acted the part of a 
revengeful, angry, insulting foe, and the others that 
of quiet peaceable citizens. No one had perceived 
any bitter feeling in either Friedmann or Gotz ; on 
the contrary, they both expressed regret and in- 



dignation when they heard the manner of his death. 
Gb'tz had been from eight till eleven on the evening 
of the murder at a tavern, where his manner was grave 
and quiet as usual ; and both he and Friedmann were 
well known as just and upright men, incapable of 
committing any bad action, much less a crime of this 
magnitude. Finally, Rupprecht himself, when asked 
on the morning after his accident whether he did not 
suspect one of the district overseers of the deed, had 
distinctly answered " No." 

John Gabriel Schmidt and his half-brother Erhard 
Duringer had the reputation of well-conducted, hard- 
working men, of spotless integrity, who only visited 
the tavern on certain days in the week, and then 
only for a few hours. Kunigunda Pfann gave evi- 
dence on oath that Erhard Duringer could not have 
been at the Hell Tavern on the evening of the 7th 
February, as she had stayed with him and his wife 
from half-past eight till ten, and had only left their 
room as they were preparing to go to bed. This 
evidence was confirmed by the mistress of the house 
in which they lived, who inhabited the rooms above 
them. She stated that although she had not been 
in Diiringer's room she was satisfied that he had 
remained at home, as Friday was not the day on 
which he and his half-brother went to the tavern. 
With regard to John Gabriel Schmidt she said, " As 
I live up one pair of stairs, and he just above me, and 
I heard no one come down stairs after eight o'clock, 
and all was quiet in their room, I feel convinced that 
after that hour they were in bed. Besides, she was 
stirring till eleven, and even later, and she heard no 
suspicious knocking or ringing at the door." Ku- 


nigunda Pfann, whose room was near the Schmidts', 
said that as she was returning home at about half- 
past eight, she looked up at their window and saw no 
light ; moreover the key had been taken out of the 
door, as was their custom when they went to bed ; 
neither had she heard any noise during the night. 
Martin Haas, the landlord, confirmed these statements, 
adding, " I take it for granted that the Schmidts were 
at home on Friday, as they never go out on that 

In order to leave nothing untried, two other wood- 
cutters, whose names were Schmidt, were examined : 
they did not live in either of the streets mentioned by 
Rupprecht, nor even in the town, but in the suburbs. 
These two men, John and Godfrey, were nearly con- 
nected, and generally came to Niirnberg for work : 
and one of them was usually employed by Rup- 
precht's son-in-law. But in this case also the inquiry 
led to the same result. 

Thus, when every woodcutter of the name of 
Schmidt in the town and neighbourhood had been 
examined, it became evident that the court, by trust- 
ing to the unconnected words of the dying man, had 
suffered itself to be led in a totally false direction. 
His disjointed exclamations were but the expression 
of his vague, confused suspicions, or perhaps even mere 
(Egri somnia, engendered in his shattered brain by 
delirium. A man so severely wounded in the head as 
almost entirely to lose the power of speech cannot be 
supposed to be in the true possession of his faculties 
even when consciousness appears for a moment to re- 
turn. It is not difficult to explain how his fancied 
suspicions were directed against the Schmidts, when 



we consider that so deep a gash, even if inflicted with 
a sabre, would feel as if it were made with an axe. 
The mere association of ideas would naturally connect 
a woodcutter with the axe, and every throb of the 
wound would recall to Rupprecht's disordered imagi- 
nation the image of the Schmidts, with whom he had 
lately quarrelled. 

The judge, while carrying on the inquiry with the 
utmost zeal in a direction which eventually proved to 
be a wrong one, had not in the mean time neglected 
to follow up all other indications. He had from the 
first kept his eye upon John Bieringer and his wife, 
who was Rupprecht's own daughter. 

Rupprecht, soon after he was wounded, had ex- 
claimed, " My daughter ! my daughter !" which those 
who were present had interpreted as the expression of 
a natural desire on his part to see her; but which 
might have referred to the same event as the words 
he used shortly before " The wicked rogue ! with 
the axe !" This supposition received weight from the 
circumstance that Rupprecht usually called his son- 
in-law " the wicked rogue." 

One of those who were present went, after fetching 
a surgeon, to Bieringer's house and informed him of 
what had happened, and of Rupprecht's wish to see 
his daughter. Hereupon Bieringer, with extraordi- 
nary coolness, said to his wife, " You must go to the 
Hell Tavern directly ; something has happened to 
your father; one really has nothing but trouble with 

When Rupprecht's daughter saw him lying wound- 
ed, she wept, and lamented : but several witnesses 
thought that she did not show so much interest and 


sympathy for him as might have been expected from 
a daughter on such an occasion. 

One witness asserted that soon after she had seen 
her father, disfigured as he was with blood and wounds, 
she asked for his keys, and said " she would look whe- 
ther they were in his pocket, or whether the murderer 
had taken them to open her father's lodging and rob 
it." As soon as she recovered his keys, she went on 
before to his lodging. 

The same witness further said, " When her wounded 
father lay in his own house, the daughter appeared 
not only composed, but even careless. When I went 
to see him on the following day, I observed that 
she showed great indifference to her father's fate ; she 
ate up, in my presence, a whole basin of soup which 
would have more than satisfied most people." 

Meanwhile she manifested the greatest anxiety to 
fix suspicion on John Gabriel Schmidt, and on the 
district overseer Gotz. On the 8th February she 
suddenly exclaimed, that her father had named 
Schmidt as the murderer ; adding, that it was likely 
enough, as this man was an intimate friend of Gotz's, 
who had been involved in a lawsuit with her father. 
This she repeated so often and so loudly, that the 
officer appointed to note down every expression that 
fell from the dying man, was forced to order her to be 

She further stated, at her examination on the 9th 
February, that her father, on coming to himself, had 
accused the woodcutter Schmidt of the deed ; and 
added that, on her repeatedly asking who had struck 
him, her father had answered, " He was a big fellow." 
As no one else had heard Rupprecht say this, it 


looked as if she had invented it in order to avert sus- 
picion from her husband, who was of small stature. 

On the following day, the 10th February, when the 
three woodcutters of the name of Schmidt were 
brought into the presence of the wounded man, she 
pressed the judge, when it came to John Gabriel's 
turn, to allow her to be present, and to speak to him ; 
saying, " This John Gabriel Schmidt was the man 
whom she alluded to in her yesterday's examination ; 
and that she wished to speak to him, and to remind 
him of the omniscience of God, as he might then, 
perhaps, confess. The others, she was sure, were in- 

Bieringer, a well-bred and well educated man, of 
about five-and-thirty, was perfectly composed and 
unconstrained during examination ; only once he 
started from his seat, complained of illness, and 
walked up and down; he then sat down again and 
quietly continued to answer the questions put to him. 

The principal ground for suspicion against him 
was, the terms on which he lived with his wife and 
his father-in-law. 

Bieringer's domestic quarrels had occasionally been 
so violent as to draw together a crowd before his 
house; and his wife had once been sent to prison 
for eight and forty hours, in consequence of a com- 
plaint laid by her husband before the police. Bierin- 
ger accused her of violence of temper and love of 
finery ; and her father of always supporting her 
against her husband. The imprisonment, it is true, 
had produced a wholesome effect, and Bieringer's 
domestic peace had remained unbroken for some time. 
But the quarrel between Rupprecht and his son in-law 


was irreconcilable. Rupprecht would not see him ; 
and on the very day before his death he had said to 
his maid, " Bieringer is a cursed rogue, who shall 
never come into my presence." Rupprecht thought 
him a careless fellow, who worked less and spent more 
than he ought ; and who, moreover, did not show him 
sufficient respect. He had long intended to make a 
will leaving his whole property to his daughter, and 
placing it entirely out of the reach of her husband. 
He had mentioned this plan to his daughter some 
months before. He had also told his fellow-lodger 
Hb'gner, who was more in his confidence than any one 
else, that " he would make a will, in which he would 
not forget his good friends, and would settle his money 
in such manner upon his daughter that his rascally 
son-in-law should not be able to touch it, so that his 
daughter might have something to live upon in case 
of a separation." On Friday the 7th February, at 
about 3 P.M., only a few hours before he was mur- 
dered, he sent to his familiar friend Hb'gner, and 
requested him to " look out from among his papers 
some acknowledgments of debts, amounting to 1 200 
florins, as he must take them directly to the magistrate's 
office. The search took up some time, as his papers 
were in disorder, and he requested me to come on the 
following Sunday, and sort them for him, as he 
wished to alter and arrange several matters, and to 
make a will. His maid was in the room at the time." 
Had Bieringer been aware of this, he would undoubt- 
edly have had the greatest interest in preventing 
Rupprecht from executing his intentions; and the 
circumstance that Rupprecht was murdered at ten 
o'clock at night of the same day on which he had 


talked about making his will, would no longer appeal- 
merely as a strange coincidence. 

But here again everything which at first appeared 
suspicious was explained away. 

The hostess of the tavern proved that Rupprecht's 
words, "My daughter, my daughter," undoubtedly ex- 
pressed his desire to see her. She stated that on see- 
ing his dangerous condition, she cried out " Fetch his 
daughter," whereupon Rupprecht repeated the words 
" My daughter." Furthermore his sister Clara and 
his familiar friend Hogner testified that it was Rup- 
precht's custom to send for his daughter every time he 
had even a pain in his finger. 

This habit again accounted for Bieringer's cool im- 
patience when he told his wife to go to her father : 
he very naturally thought that matters were not so 
bad as they afterwards turned out. 

The small sympathy which the daughter apparently 
felt with the fate of her father proves but little ; not 
to mention that several other witnesses who had ample 
opportunity of observing her conduct stated the very 
reverse, and asserted that she showed great feeling. 

The taking possession of her father's keys was no 
more than what any other daughter would have done 
under the circumstances. They were essential to pre- 
pare for his reception in his own house. Moreover it 
afterwards appeared that she only took the keys at the 
suggestion of the physician, who suspected that some 
one might attempt to rob the house, in consequence 
of which suspicion, and at her request, two police 
officers accompanied her to her father's house. 

Her loud and eager announcement that her father 
had named the woodcutter Schmidt as his murderer, 


and her endeavours to fix the guilt on the so-called 
big Schmidt, would certainly have been suspicious, 
had not old Rupprecht realty named him. But her 
anxiety to force the man whom her imagination re- 
presented to her as the only possible murderer to 
confess his guilt, cannot surely be construed as evi- 
dence of her participation in the murder. Nor need 
we conclude that she put expressions into her father's 
mouth about the murderer being a tall fellow in order 
to shield her husband ; it is very possible that her 
father may have used them during the absence of 
other witnesses. 

It is quite obvious that it was not her interest, while 
living on bad terms with her husband, to get rid of 
her father, who hated his son-in-law, and was her 
constant refuge and support against him, at the very 
moment, too, when she knew that her father was about 
to make a will which should secure her independence 
of her husband. Rupprecht's dying intestate was as 
great a loss to his daughter as it was a gain to his son- 

On further examination, everything was cleared up 
in Bieringer's favour also. 

Bieringer's comparatively polished manners ren- 
dered him most unsuitable to his coarse father-in-law, 
whose avarice and meanness were shocked by his son- 
in-law's more generous manner of living. Bieringer 
was considered by his fellow-citizens as a well-con- 
ducted and upright man, who loved society, without 
neglecting his business, and was not addicted to drink- 
ing or gaming. The chief cause of dissension between 
him and his wife was rather her love of dress and 
quarrelsome disposition than any fault of his. All 


who were acquainted with him said that they knew of 
no stain upon his honour or good name. 

Even if Rupprecht's intention to deprive Bieringer 
of all power over his daughter's fortune appeared 
a sufficient motive for the murder of his father- 
in-law, it remained to be proved that Bieringer was 
aware of the project. But on examination it appeared 
the old man confided his thoughts to none but his 
friend and his daughter, who certainly could have no 
interest in betraying the secret to her husband. Nei- 
ther his brother nor his sisters knew anything what- 
ever of the matter. It is true that on the day he was 
murdered his maid was present when he talked of 
making his will, but he mentioned it quite vaguely 
without entering into any particulars. 

It was proved beyond doubt that Bieringer could 
not have committed the murder himself. On the 
evening of the 7th February he was at a tavern 
called the Golden Fish, distant full ten minutes' walk 
from that frequented by Rupprecht. He was dressed 
as usual, and carried no weapon, not even a stick. 
Here he remained till a quarter past ten o'clock at 
night, and at half-past ten he came home and took off 
his clothes. He was found undressed by the man who 
went to his house in order to fetch his wife to her 
father. It was therefore impossible that he could have 
stayed at the Golden Fish until a quarter past ten 
o'clock, have murdered his father-in-law at a tavern 
some distance off, and be back in his own house, 
which was distant at least a mile from the scene of 
the murder, by half-past ten. 

At the commencement of the inquiry the judge had 
endeavoured to discover with whom Rupprecht had 


dealings, and more especially who had been with him 
on the 7th February. The evidence given by Rup- 
precht's maid seemed important. She stated that 
among others three trumpeters belonging to the regi- 
ment quartered in the town had been with Rupprecht 
on business on the very day of the murder, and had 
been told by him to call again on the following day : 
they did not return, having probably heard what had 
occurred. These three men were immediately arrested 
and examined. Although their depositions agreed on 
every point, and each one separately stated where they 
had been at the time of the murder, it nevertheless ap- 
peared as if one of these three trumpeters must be the 
murderer. One of them owed Rupprecht money, 
which he had no means of paying, and his two com- 
rades had accompanied him to Rupprecht's house, 
nobody exactly knew why. On the same evening 
Rupprecht received a deadly blow, and the wound 
presented the appearance of a sabre-cut inflicted by a 
practised hand. 

But this was " like the lightning, which doth cease 
to be ere you can say it lightens." Alibis were most 
clearly proved : two of them had been at their bar- 
racks, and the third had been sitting from eight till 
eleven in some tavern, whence he went straight to the 

One means of detection, however, seems to have been 
forgotten. The physicians stated that the wound was 
to all appearance inflicted by a sabre, and it is pro- 
bable that some discovery might have been made, had 
the arms of the garrison, and of the burgher guard, been 
examined on the morning after the murder. But when 
the court began the inquiry, it was already too late to 


hope for any results, even had this suggestion, made 
by the judge, been attended to. His colleagues were 
so completely possessed by the idea that the murderous 
blow had been inflicted by an axe wielded by a wood- 
cutter, that they negatived a proposal founded on the 
supposition that Rupprecht had been killed by a sabre- 

Meanwhile two men, whose names were unknown, 
became the subject of inquiry. On the day after the 
murder, Rupprecht's confidant and fellow-lodger, 
Hogner, laid information before the court as follows : 
" At about half-past five in the afternoon of the fatal 
Friday, Rupprecht came to me and requested me to 
allow his maid to spend the evening in my rooms, as 
two gentlemen were coming to him, with whom he 
wished to be alone. The maid came and stayed 
about an hour and a half, when Rupprecht returned 
and gave her the key of his rooms, saying that 
he was going to the tavern." The maid confirmed 
this statement, adding that as she went down stairs to 
fetch her supper she had seen through the window 
which looks from the kitchen into Rupprecht's room 
two young men, who were busied with something on 
the table. But this mysterious affair was soon cleared 
up : the two gentlemen were the regimental tailor 
and a shoemaker, the former of whom borrowed of 
Rupprecht the sum of 600 florins for three months, 
giving a bill for 650 florins, and leaving a large 
quantity of cloth as a pledge in Rupprecht's hands. 
His friend the shoemaker merely acted as a witness in 
the transaction. 

Several other men were arrested on divers suspi- 
cions, but all brought forward witnesses who com- 


pletely disculpated them. The court was therefore 
forced to rest content after releasing Abraham Schmidt 
from his provisory arrest, and to close the proceedings 
until fresh suspicions should arise. 

Ten years, writes Feuerbach in 1828, have since 
passed, and the manner of Rupprecht's death is still 
involved in mystery. 

Most likely the old usurer was murdered out of 
revenge or hatred by some disappointed suitor for a 
loan, or by a debtor who thought this the easiest way 
of paying his debt, and whose name was never known 
owing to Rupprecht's habit of keeping no regular ac- 
counts and trusting chiefly to his memory. Not one 
even of his nearest relations knew the exact state of 
the old man's affairs ; even Hogner was only admitted 
to his confidence in cases of absolute necessity, when 
he wanted to have a note of hand looked out from 
among his papers, or to get them put in order. Thus 
probably the only clue to the discovery of Rupprecht's 
murderer was buried with him. 



IN the year 1807 a widow, nearly fifty years of age, 
calling herself Nanette Schb'nleben, lived at Pegnitz 
in the territory of Baireuth, supporting herself by 
knitting. Her conduct gained her a reputation which 
induced Justice Wolfgang Glaser, who was then living 
at Rosendorf separated from his wife, to take her as 
his housekeeper, on the 5th March, 1808. On the 
22nd of the following July Glaser was reconciled to 
his wife, who had been living with her relations at 
Grieshaber near Augsburg. Soon after her return 
to her husband's house, though a strong healthy 
woman, she was suddenly seized with violent vomit- 
ing, diarrhoea, &c., and on the 26th August, a month 
after the reconciliation, she died. 

Anna Schb'nleben now left Glaser's service, and on 
the 25th September she went to live as housekeeper 
with Justice Grohmann at Sanspareil. Her new 
master, who was unmarried, was thirty-eight years 
of age, and though a large and powerful man, had 
suffered from gout for several years, and was often 
confined to his bed. On these occasions Anna 
Schb'nleben always nursed him with the utmost care. 
In the spring of 1809 he was seized with an illness 
more violent than any he had had before, and accom- 


panied by entirely new symptoms, violent vomiting, 
pains in the stomach, diarrhoea, heat and dryness of 
the skin, inflammation of the mouth and throat, in- 
satiable thirst, and excessive weakness and pains in 
the limbs. He died on the 8th May, after an illness 
of eleven days, and his housekeeper appeared incon- 
solable for his loss. Every one, the medical men 
included, took it for granted that Grohmann, who had 
long been ailing, had died a natural death. 

Anna Schonleben was once more out of place, but 
her reputation for kindness, activity, attention and skill 
as a sick-nurse soon procured her a new home. At 
the time of Grohmann's death the wife of the ma- 
gistrate Gebhard was just expecting to be brought to 
bed, and asked Anna Schonleben to attend her as 
nurse and housekeeper during her lying-in. Anna 
Schonleben, always willing to oblige, readily agreed, 
and from the day of the confinement she resided in 
Gebhard's house, dividing her time between the care 
of the household and of the child. Madame Gebhard 
was confined on the 13th May, 1809, and both the 
mother and the child were doing very well until the 
third day, which the mother fell ill. Her illness be- 
came more alarming every day ; she was seized with 
violent vomiting, nervous agitation, distressing heat 
in the intestines, inflammation in the throat, &c. ; and 
on the 20th May, seven days after her confinement, 
she died, exclaiming in her agony, " Merciful Heaven ! 
you have given me poison ! " As Madame Gebhard 
had always been sickly, and moreover had died in 
childbirth, her death excited no suspicion, and, like 
Madame Glaser and Grohmann, she was buried with- 
out more ado. The widower, embarrassed by his 


household and the infant which was left upon his 
hands, thought that he could do nothing better than 
to keep Anna Schonleben as his housekeeper. Several 
persons endeavoured to change his resolution. They 
said that this woman carried death with her wherever 
she went ; that three young persons whom she had 
served, had died one after the other within a very 
short time. No one made the smallest accusation 
against her ; their warnings arose from a mere super- 
stitious dread of an unfortunate sympathetic influence 
exercised by her upon those with whom she lived : 
her obliging deportment, her piety, and her air of 
honesty, humility and kindness, protected her from 
every breath of suspicion. Thus she remained for 
several months in Gebhard's service unsuspected and 

During her residence in Gebhard's house various 
suspicious events occurred, without, however, exciting 
attention. On the 25th August, 1809, a certain 
Beck, and the widow Alberti, dined with Gebhard. 
Soon after dinner they were both seized with violent 
vomiting, colic, spasms, &c., which lasted until late 
at night. About the same time she gave the messen- 
ger Rosenhauer a glass of white wine, and not long 
after he had swallowed it he was attacked in precisely 
the same manner, and was so ill as to be forced to go to 
bed. On the very same day she took Rosenhauer's 
porter, a lad of nineteen named Johann Kraus, into 
the cellar and gave him a glass of brandy. After 
drinking a small quantity he perceived a sort of white 
sediment in it, and therefore left the rest, but in a 
short time he felt very sick. During the last week 
of August, one of Gebhard's maid-servants, Barbara 


Waldmann, with whom Anna Schonleben had had 
several trifling disputes, was taken ill after drinking 
a cup of coffee, and vomited every half-hour during 
the whole day. The most remarkable occurrence, 
however, took place on the 1st September. Gebhard, 
while playing at skittles with a party of his friends, 
sent for a few pitchers of beer from his own cellar. 
He and five other persons drank some of the beer, and 
were seized soon after with sickness and internal 
pains ; some of the party, among whom was Gebhard, 
were so ill as to require medical aid. 

This first inspired distrust and dislike of Anna 
Schonleben. On the following day, chiefly at the 
instigation of one of his fellow-sufferers at the skittle- 
ground, Gebhard dismissed her from his service, but 
gave her a written character for honesty and fidelity. 

She was to leave Sanspareil for Baireuth on the 
next day 3rd September. She expressed her sur- 
prise at so sudden a dismissal, but was civil and 
obliging as usual, and busied herself during the whole 
evening in various domestic arrangements. Among 
other things she took the salt-box out of the kitchen 
(which was no part of her usual duty), and filled it 
from a barrel of salt which stood in Gebhard's bed- 
room. When the maid-servant Waldmann commented 
upon this, Anna Schonleben said, in a jesting manner, 
that she must do so, for that if those who were going 
away filled the salt-box, the other servants would 
keep their places the longer. On the morning of 
her departure she affected the greatest friendship for 
the two maid -servants, Hazin and Waldmann, and 
gave each of them a cup of coffee sweetened with 



sugar which she took out of a piece of paper. While 
the carriage was waiting for her at the door she took 
Gebhard's child, ail infant five months old, in her 
arms, gave it a biscuit soaked in milk to eat, then let 
it drink the milk, and finally parted from it with 
the most tender caresses, and got into the carriage 
which was to convey her to Baireuth, and which 
Gebhard paid for, besides giving her a crown dollar 
and some chocolate. 

She had been gone scarce half an hour when the 
child became alarmingly ill and vomited terribly, and 
in a few hours more the two maid-servants were 
attacked in the same manner ; and now, for the first 
time, suspicion was excited. On hearing from his 
servants how Anna Schonleben had busied herself, 
Gebhard had the contents of the kitchen salt-box ana- 
lyzed by a chemist, and a large quantity of arsenic 
was found among it. The salt-barrel was likewise 
found at the trial to contain thirty grains of arsenic 
to every three pounds of salt. 

To these facts were now added a number of hitherto 
unnoticed reports of persons who had been taken ill 
immediately after eating or drinking at Glaser's and 
Grohmann's houses, whilst Anna Schonleben was in 
their service. Moreover it came out that Schonleben 
was only her maiden name, and that she was in fact 
the widow of a notary called Zwanziger, who had 
lived at Niirnberg. 

It is strange that after all these discoveries it was 
not till the 29th September that Gebhard laid informa- 
tion against her at the criminal court of Baireuth, 
which immediately appointed chief magistrate Brater 


to conduct the inquiry. He went at once to the spot, 
where the charges against her of various cases of 
poisoning were confirmed, and increased in number. 

The most important point was to discover the causes 
of the sudden and unexpected deaths of those three 
persons whom Anna Schonleben had served in suc- 
cession since 1808. The body of Madame Glaser 
was dug up on the 23rd October, in the churchyard 
at Rasendorf. It presented in a very remarkable 
manner all those appearances which the discoveries of 
modern science have taught us to regard as the pecu- 
liar symptoms of death from arsenic. Although the 
body had been buried for fourteen months, it was 
very little decomposed, dried up and hardened like a 
mummy, and the skin was the colour of mahogany. 
The abdomen was rather swollen and gave a peculiar 
hollow sound when struck. The coats and muscles of 
the stomach were converted into a substance resem- 
bling cheese in appearance and smell, and the whole 
body emitted the same peculiar odour. On the follow- 
ing day the body of Madame Gebhard and that of 
Grohmann, which had lain in the earth for nearly six 
months, were disinterred in the churchyard at Won- 
sers, and presented exactly the same appearances as 
that of Glaser's wife. On investigation the intestines 
of the two female corpses were found to contain 
arsenic. In those of Grohmann the presence of the 
poison was not discovered, although his body ex- 
hibited every symptom of it. 

Meanwhile, Anna Schonleben, or, as we will hence- 
forth call her, Zwanziger, felt perfectly secure. On 
quitting Gebhard's service she had left a letter for him 
in which she reproached him with exaggerated sensi- 



bility for the ingratitude with which he had repaid 
her care of him, and her devotion to his child. 
" If," says she, " the child should he restless and 
unhappy, my guardian angel will say to you, ' Why 
didst thou take from her that which she held most 
dear ?' If, six weeks hence, you should ask for me, 
you will hear 'She is no more,' and then woe to your 
heart, for it will break; woe to those who have calum- 
niated me to you." She then prays God to reward 
him for his kindness, begs him to continue his friend- 
ship to her, and promises to write to him every fort- 
night. This promise she faithfully kept ; and both 
from Baireuth, where she actually quartered herself 
for a month upon the mother of Gebhard's dead wife, 
and afterwards from Niirnberg, she sent him several 
letters, in which she tells him the state of her health, 
how well she was received, and how soon she hoped 
to get a place, and then recommends herself to the 
"kind recollection of her revered master;" or talks 
about " her darling child," sends it kisses, and asks 
after its health. It is clear that she hoped no less 
than to be recalled by Gebhard, and that the true 
purpose of her letters was to put this into his head 
by every means in her power as frequently as pos- 
sible. She was equally lavish of her letters to 
several other persons. Among others she wrote to 
Glaser and offered him her services again as house- 
keeper. After waiting in vain both at Baireuth and 
at Niirnberg for a recall, she went to Mainbernheirn 
in Franconia, where she hoped to be received by her 
son-in-law, a bookbinder called Sauer. But he had 
meanwhile divorced her daughter, who was in the 
house of correction for stealing and swindling, and 


was celebrating his second marriage on the very 
dav on which his former mother-in-law arrived at his 


house. This disagreeable coincidence soon caused 
her to leave Mainbernheim, and return to Niirnberg, 
where she was immediately arrested on the 18th 
October, 1809. On searching her person two packets 
of tartar emetic and one of arsenic were found in her 

We will postpone for the present the history of her 
life, which came out on her examination at Culmbach 
and at Niirnberg, though only piecemeal and in very 
general terms. Neither would it answer our purpose 
to follow the long course of examination, as it would 
be impossible to describe the cunning and adroitness 
with which the criminal contrived to evade all ques- 
tions and remonstrances, or the patience, prudence, 
and skill with which the judge enclosed her within 
narrow and narrower circles, until she was no longer 
able to resist the truth. From the 19th October, 1809, 
till the 16th April, 1810, she resolutely denied every 
accusation connected with the charge of poisoning. 
On the last-named day she appeared before her judge 
with perfect composure, believing that all the evidence 
against her was exhausted, when he opened the pro- 
ceedings with the unexpected announcement that 
the body of Glaser's wife had been dug up ; that upon 
minute investigation she was found to have been 
poisoned with arsenic, and that there was the strongest 
ground for suspicion that the poison had been admi- 
nistered by the prisoner. After the judge had repre- 
sented this to her in various forms during two whole 
hours, her courage at length gave way. She wept, 
wrung her hands, protested her innocence, and >en- 


deavoured to mislead the judge in broken and uncon- 
nected sentences which she uttered with great rapidity 
and in evident terror, and at length confessed 
that she had twice given poison to Glaser's wife, at 
the same time interweaving with her confession an 
atrocious calumny. The words had scarcely passed 
her lips when she fell as if struck by lightning, rolled 
upon the floor in strong convulsions, and had to be 
carried out of court. 

The poisonings which Anna Zwanziger partly con- 
fessed and partly was proved to have committed, were 
as follows : 

Justice Glaser, a man upwards of fifty, had lived 
for several years separate from his wife, from no fault 
of his own, when, on the 25th March, 1808, he took 
Anna Zwanziger into his service, at the recommenda- 
tion of his son. She soon contrived to ingratiate her- 
self with her master, and to place herself upon a foot- 
ing almost of equality with him. She had not been 
long in his service before she began to be very 
officious in endeavouring to effect a reconciliation 
between him and his wife, partly indeed without 
Glaser's knowledge or consent. Not satisfied with 
using all her powers of persuasion to induce Glaser 
to take back his wife, she opened a secret corre- 
spondence with the latter, who was living with her 
brother at Grieshaber, wrote to several friends of the 
family in order to induce them to assist in the work 
of reconciliation, among others to the neighbouring 
Catholic priest at Holfeld, enclosing a piece of money, 
with the request, Protestant as she was, that a mass 
might be read for the success of her undertaking. 

She at length succeeded in persuading the wife to 


return, and the husband to receive her. Madame 
Glaser left Grieshaber, and, a few days before her 
arrival in Kasendorf, she wrote to one of her relations 
to announce that on the following Wednesday a formal 
reconciliation would take place between her husband 
and herself. 

On the 22nd July, 1808, Glaser went to meet his 
wife at Holfeld, and on returning with her to Kasen- 
dorf he was met by a brilliant reception which had 
been prepared by Anna Zwanziger to celebrate the 
reconciliation. All Kasendorf was in commotion : the 
floors of the house were strewn with flowers, and the 
doorposts and walls hung with garlands ; the bed was 
decorated with wreaths, and on it was pinned an orna- 
mental sheet of paper with the words 

The widow's hand 
Hath joined this band. 

The poetry and the writing were Anna Zwanziger's. 

The real motive for her uncalled-for interference in 
this affair is obvious. In spite of her age and ugli- 
ness, she expected no less than that Glaser would 
marry her in the event of his wife's death, and she 
herself confessed that she hoped by this murder to 
secure a provision for her old age. 

Thus she acted the pious part of a peacemaker 
merely with the view of getting Glaser's wife into her 
power, and welcomed and caressed her victim in order 
the more quickly and safely to sacrifice her. 

Madame Glaser had been only a few weeks in the 
house of her husband, who treated her with the 
greatest kindness and affection, when Anna Zwanziger 
began to put her scheme into execution. On the 
13th or 14th August, she put, as she declared, half a 


teaspoonful of arsenic into some tea which stood at the 
fire, and gave it to Madame Glaser, who drank it, 
and soon after was seized with vomiting. " When I 
gave her the arsenic in the tea," said Zwanziger, " I 
said to myself, I must make my old age comfortable, 
and if the poison does not do her business this time, 
why I will give it her again till it does." And accord- 
ingly a few days afterwards, on the 15th August, be- 
tween four and five in the afternoon, she dissolved a 
large dessert spoonful of tartar emetic in a cup of 
coffee, and invited Madame Glaser into her room to 
drink it. She did so, and drank her death. That 
night she was seized with vomiting and pains in the 
intestines, which increased in violence, and in ten days 
she was a corpse. " When/' said Zwanziger, " I had 
mixed the poison in the cup, and saw how thick it was, 
I said to myself, Lord Jesus ! this time she must surely 

It is highly characteristic of Zwanziger that in her 
confession she endeavoured to implicate Justice Glaser 
in crime; she accused him of having instigated her 
to murder his wife, of being privy to the attempt with 
the tea, and of having given her the tartar emetic to 
put in the coffee, with the words " There, do you 
give it to her ; such carrion is no loss." In conse- 
quence of this statement, Justice Glaser was arrested 
and involved in the examination, which, however, 
terminated in his complete acquittal. 

About a week before the first attempt on Glaser's 
wife, a certain Wagenholz, with his wife and son, came 
to call on the Glasers, and stopped to supper. Soon 
after, the whole party were taken ill with sickness and 
vomiting. Next day Zwanziger gave the remains of 


the food to the son of Harbach, the watchman, and he 
too was so sick as to be confined to his bed for some 
time. It is uncertain whether her object was merely 
to try the effect of her poison preparatory to her more 
important scheme, or whether the guests were unwel- 
come to her and she wished to punish them for coming 
uninvited, and her master and mistress for receiving 
them too graciously. However this may be, she de- 
nied the charge altogether, at the same time taking 
the opportunity of throwing fresh suspicion upon 
Glaser. " He was," said she, " as savage as Satan 
himself against Wagenholz and his wife, and I thought 
at the time that he must have put something into the 
food, for I was very sick and ill myself." 

After Madame Glaser's death, on the 25th Sep- 
tember of the same year, 1808, she was taken into 
Justice Grohmann's service. Here her envy and jea- 
lousy were immediately excited by the two messengers 
Lawrence and Johann Dorsch, who, besides their 
official duties, rendered various domestic services to 
Grohmann. Moreover she asserted that they con- 
stantly teazed and laughed at her, and it vexed her 
that they drank too much beer. " I determined," said 
the prisoner, " to spoil their appetite, and took four 
pitchers of beer, two of which I mixed with tartar 
emetic, and the other two with a larger dose of ar- 
senic ; my intention was to give them the contents of 
these pitchers by degrees, not in order to kill them, 
but only to make them sick. I once set one of 
these poisoned pitchers before them, but they did not 
like the taste of the beer, and drank very little of it, 
after which they emptied another pitcher, which con- 
tained no poison." 


The two Dorschs felt no bad effect whatever, and 
Zwanziger never repeated the attempt, probably be- 
cause her attention was speedily directed to a more 
important object. 

In the spring of 1809 Justice Christopher Hoffmann, 
of Wiesenfels, visited Grohmann, who was then ill in 
bed. A few glasses of beer, which tasted flat 
and unpleasant, were given to him, but he cannot 
remember by whom, and immediately after he went 
to see Gebhard. Scarce had he arrived at Gebhard's 
house, when he felt very sick and went out into the 
air, whereupon he was seized with violent vomiting. 
The prisoner denied having poisoned him intentionally, 
but said that she put the pitchers which she had 
mixed with poison for the Dorschs into the cellar 
with the rest of the beer without marking them, and 
that she was unable to distinguish the poisoned from 
the unpoisoned beer. " Thus then," said she, " it is 
possible that he may have drunk some of the poisoned 
beer by accident, but it certainly was never my in- 
tention even to make him sick, for he was a very 
respectable and excellent man, for whom I had a great 
regard, arid who had always shown me every respect, 
as also had his wife." 

One day Madame Schell and her husband went to 
see Grohmann, and she drank a cup of coffee. During 
the course of her visit at Grohmann's she fainted and 
vomited the prisoner denied having given her any 
poison, and there was room for doubt, as Madame 
Schell did not remember distinctly whether she was 
taken ill before drinking the coffee or after. 

It was not juridically proved that Grohmann died 
by poison, but the unusual symptoms that appeared 


during his last illness, the traces of arsenic found in 
the exhumed corpse, and the opinion of the physicians 
attached to the court, rendered it not only possible, 
but highly probable. A probability, amounting al- 
most to certainty, pointed out Anna Zwanziger as the 
poisoner. A person who had already poisoned one 
woman, who was in the constant habit of dealing with 
poisons, and who kept a large store of poisoned drink 
ready in Grohmann's house, which she had, accord- 
ing to her own confession, already used to the injury 
of two persons on the very slightest provocation, 
such a person would look upon such a deed as a com- 
monplace occurrence. Moreover she was constantly 
about her master while suffering from gout; sought 
to keep away those who wished to wait upon him, and 
was angry when others gave him his medicines. These 
suspicions were strengthened by her violent demon- 
stration of grief at Grohmann's death, and the cries and 
lamentations with which she made the whole house 
resound, more especially whenever any stranger came 
into the room. Nor are her motives for murdering 
him difficult to guess. Ill as he was, Grohmann 
intended to marry the daughter of the neighbouring 
Justice Herrgott, at Dachsbach. Grohmann's court- 
ship and the prospect of his marriage were highly dis- 
tasteful to Anna Zwanziger, and she showed this in 
various ways. Every letter that went to or came 
from Dachsbach was watched, waylaid, and ex- 
amined. Grohmann once told Madame Schell that 
he was by no means satisfied with his housekeeper ; 
that " she imagined every letter he received contained 
some offer of marriage, and that, old as she was, she 
had actually taken it into her head that he would 


marry her." John Dorsch also said, " Whenever I 
went to the house, and asked after the health of her 
master, her constant answer was, * Why, he is always 
ill, and yet, to be sure, he wants to marry." She 
talked in the same strain to Grohmann's sister : " Your 
brother's intended is accustomed to a merry life, and 
will never be happy in such a quiet place as Sans- 
pariel, with nothing to do but to be always mixing 
draughts." At length there was a report in Groh- 
mann's house that the banns had actually been pub- 
lished, and that the bride was expected in eight days ; 
this threw Zwanziger's tongue and temper into a state 
of extraordinary excitement. Just at this time Groh- 
mann was taken ill, and in a few days he died. If 
we consider these circumstances and the woman's cha- 
racter, the following explanation appears extremely 
probable : That she, who never entered any man's 
service without reckoning upon him as her future hus- 
band, indulged like hopes of Grohmann. But when, 
spite of all the flattery and subservience by which she 
had hoped to worm herself into his good graces, she 
found herself disappointed, anger against her master, 
envy of the young girl whose good fortune she envied, 
hatred of them both, and of the marriage which she 
foresaw would cost her her place these were sufficient 
to induce a person of her disposition to resolve upon 
punishing Grohmann by death, and his intended bride 
by depriving her of her bridegroom and thus to 
avenge her jealous fury upon them both. The most 
charitable interpretation of which her conduct admits, 
is, that she administered the poison to him with the 
object of keeping him continually so ill as to prevent 
the marriage, and by making herself necessary to him 


as a nurse, of securing the permanence of her situation. 
She denied having poisoned Grohmann intentionally, 
but admitted that he accidentally drank some of the 
poisoned beer which she kept ready for the Dorschs. 
When she set the poisoned pitcher before them, they 
refused to touch it, and placed it on a table with the 
other pitchers intended for Grohmann and his visitors. 
" The three remaining poisoned pitchers," she con- 
tinued, " I placed in the cellar with those containing 
the sound beer, and, as I had not marked them dis- 
tinctly, the pitchers got mixed, so that I could no 
longer distinguish between those which were poisoned 
and those which were not. It is therefore very possible 
that Grohmann may have drunk some of the poisoned 
beer, in the same manner as Hoffmann also did. I 
cannot deny that he vomited very often. But Groh- 
mann was much too valuable to me that I should 
injure him purposely; he was all in all to me; and 
what he ate, that 1 ate too. He was my best friend, 
and never offended me, so that I had nothing to re- 
venge upon him." 

According to the strict letter of the law, the inten- 
tional poisoning was not clearly proved, but no un- 
prejudiced person could entertain any doubt of it. 
How improbable is the statement by which she at- 
tempted to explain away her crime ! Grohmann is 
" her all in all ; her best friend ;" and yet she leaves 
a pitcher of poisoned beer in his way ; she knows that 
the pitchers of poisoned and sound beer are mixed to- 
gether in the cellar, and yet, regardless of the conse- 
quences, she places those which may possibly be 
poisoned before her sick and " highly treasured best 
friend !" 


On the 24th May, 1810, the body of Madame Geb- 
hard was again disinterred and shown to Zwanziger, 
in the churchyard at Wonsers. She touched the right 
hand, saying, * Peace be with your ashes ! I wish I 
lay in the grave by your side; I should there be 
freed from my woes !" She was then led to Groh- 
mann's grave. " Yes," said she, " this is the grave of 
Justice Grohmann ! With his death, as with Ma- 
dame Gebhard's, I had nothing to do." Madame 
Gebhard, however, was, as she afterwards confessed, 
actually poisoned by her. She therefore probably had 
as much to do with Grohmann's death as with Ma- 
dame Gebhard's; and her asseverations at his grave 
may be considered as a sort of veiled and half ironical 
admission that she was as innocent of his murder as 
of Madame Gebhard's. In Gebhard's house, which 
she entered on the 13th May, 1809, as housekeeper 
and monthly nurse, her career of guilt was still more 

Scarce had she been in the house four days before 
she selected the lying-in woman as her victim. " Be- 
cause," said the prisoner, " Madame Gebhard was 
very cross, treated me roughly, and scolded me for 
having, as she said, neglected the housekeeping, 
I resolved to poison her." On Wednesday the 17th 
May, Zwanziger accordingly went into the cellar, 
where she poisoned two pitchers of beer, one with 
as much tartar emetic as she could take up between 
the fingers of her right hand, and the other with 
a still stronger dose of arsenic. On the same day a 
glass jug was filled out of the first pitcher for the 
lying-in woman; and Gebhard himself, unconscious 
of what he was doing, repeatedly handed the poisonous 


draught to his wife. On Friday the 19th May, the day 
before her death, the contents of the second pitcher 
were placed before the sick woman, who drank but 
little. " I did not give her the poison to kill her," 
said Zwanziger, " but only to plague her by making 
her sick, because she had plagued me. I knew very 
well that the beer could do her no harm. Had I 
thought that Madame Gebhard died by my fault, I 
would have laid myself in the grave beside her ; for 
she had always been fond of me ; she was my best 
friend, and always helped me byword and deed; she 
praised me wherever she went, and was invariably kind 
to me. We were like two sisters ; we constantly met 
and talked about economical matters." The malice 
and duplicity exhibited in this statement surpass all 
one can believe of human depravity, and it presents a 
very remarkable parallel to her declarations about 
Grohmann. She confessed that she intentionally gave 
poison to her " best friend her sister her friend in 
word and deed," Madame Gebhard ; and on the 
other hand she asked, how could she have wished to 
poison Grohmann, who was her " best friend her all 
in all." 

No one can doubt that her assertion that she did not 
give Madame Gebhard poison with the intention of 
causing her death, was a mere lie. Why, if she did not 
want to destroy her, did she, after the first pitcher was 
exhausted, give to her mistress already dangerously 
ill the beer containing a still larger dose of poison ? 
Nor does her assertion that she did it to revenge insult 
and unkindness at all agree with any other part of the 
evidence. It was completely proved by the evidence of 
a number of witnesses, and by several passages in 


letters found in her commode, that she had conceived 
the same wishes and formed the same scheme with 
regard to Gebhard as she had already done with 
regard to Glaser and Grohmann ; and although she 
had no ground for hope that Gebhard would marry 
her, still there was always the possibility that if left a 
widower he might be induced to do so ; and to a per- 
son of her character this was sufficient reason for 
putting his wife out of the way. 

Towards the end of August, as we have already 
stated, Beck, a shopman, and the widow of the secre- 
tary Alberti, dined with Gebhard, and were poisoned. 
The prisoner confessed this charge. She said that 
Beck had occasionally teased and laughed at her, and 
that she gave him some beer mixed with arsenic out 
of the same pitcher from which Madame Gebhard had 
been poisoned, and which, when half empty, she had 
merely filled up with fresh beer. She declared that 
it was never her intention to kill^ him, but only to 
punish him for laughing at her. "I must confess," 
said she, " that it was good fun to see people who had 
teased me made very sick." She also acknowledged 
that Madame Alberti drank out of the same pitcher, 
but added, that it was not her intention that she 
should do so, for that she dissuaded her from it, and 
gave her a cordial and some coffee after she had been 
made sick by the poisoned beer. 

She denied having poisoned the messenger Rosen- 
hauer with wine, but confessed having done so with 
beer. She said that she had an antipathy to Rosen- 
hauer because he told tales against her, and that she 
gave him some of the same beer that she gave to Beck 
a few days later, in order to punish him ; adding that 


on both occasions she did no more than fill up 
the pitcher from which Madame Gebhard had been 

With regard to the charge of poisoning Rosen- 
hauer's lad, she did not deny the deed, but only the 
means alleged. She said that " it was contrary to 
common sense to suppose that any one could be 
poisoned in brandy, which is so clear that the least 
grain of dust could be seen in it ; but that as Kraus 
had always been very rude to her, she gave him a 
glass of the poisoned beer to make him sick." Her 
statement is in direct contradiction to the fact that 
Kraus was taken ill after drinking some muddy- 
looking brandy given him by Zwanziger; whereas 
he affirmed that she had frequently given him beer, 
from which he had never perceived any ill effects. 

It is likewise proved that on the 1st September, 
Gebhard, Beck, his brother, who had been poisoned by 
Zwanziger only a few days before, the burghermaster 
Petz and the clerk Scherber, who were assembled on 
the skittle-ground, were all taken ill after drinking 
some beer which was sent by Zwanziger, at her 
master's desire, and out of his cellar. Zwanziger 
resolutely denied any criminal intention ; she asserted 
that she did not know how it happened ; " that perhaps 
some sediment might have remained in the bottom of 
the two pitchers originally prepared for Madame 
Gebhard, that they may have been filled up afresh, 
and that she may have sent them by accident." 
Nothing can be more improbable than this statement 
and nothing more certain than her guilt, according to 
all the rules of experience and common sense. She, 
to whom, according to her own confession, it was 



" great fun " to watch the torments of the people 
whom she had poisoned, might think it vastly droll to 
spoil the sport of a whole party and be entertained by 
the mere thought of their pains, contortions, and wry 
faces; not to mention that among them was Beck, 
whom she hated, and on whom she had played the 
same trick only a few days before. 

Nor is her statement that she did all this with the 
same two pitchers, into which she had put poison on 
the 17th May, without adding any fresh arsenic to 
the old sediment, at all more credible ; if it were true, 
they must have strangely resembled the widow's cruse 
of oil. First, Madame Gebhard was. destroyed by their 
contents ; next Beck and Madame Alberti each drank 
several glasses, after which they were both violently 
ill ; then Rosenhauer and Kraus ; and finally a party 
of five persons, who were all -taken ill, and most of 
whom felt the effects of the poison for months. The 
following circumstance gives the key to a far more 
probable explanation: On the evening before her 
departure from Gebhard's house, after he had taken 
the keys from her, she went into the cellar with 
Scherber, the clerk, in order to show him, what he 
could easily have found without her, the place where 
the candles were kept. As Scherber was going out 
again with the candles, she took up a little earthen 
jar, saying that she would take it with her, for that it 
had stood there for a long time past. She then gave 
it to the housemaid, and told her to wash it ; and in 
doing so the latter perceived a hard white deposit, 
about one-eighth of an inch thick, in the bottom of 
the jar. This was in all probability the vessel in which 
she prepared the poison for the beer as often as she 


wanted it. She denied any concern with the sickness 
which attacked the two maid-servants, Hazin and 
Waldman, after drinking the coffee. On the other 
hand, she confessed that she put poison into the salt- 
box in the kitchen on the evening before she left Geb- 
hard's house. " I must confess," these are her own 
words, " that on the evening before my departure I 
mixed the contents of the salt-box which is used in the 
kitchen with arsenic, in order that after I was gone 
everybody who stayed in the house might get some 
of it, and also in order to get the maid into trouble. 
I took a pinch of arsenic out of my pocket, went with 
it from my bed-room into the kitchen, whence I carried 
the salt-box into the servants' hall, and dropped the 
arsenic into it while I stirred the salt three times, and 
made some joke about it." 

Now the store of salt in the barrel was likewise 
found to contain a considerable admixture of arsenic, 
and out of this very barrel Zwanziger had with her 
own hands filled the kitchen salt-box. There is 
scarce room for doubt that she who put poison into the 
one put it into the other ; and yet she asserted her 
innocence in the face of all this evidence. " I can 
only suppose," said she, " that several persons have 
conspired to destroy me." 

With regard to Gebhard's child, an infant six 
months old, " her darling," as she called it, to which 
she was accused of having administered arsenic in a 
biscuit and some milk, under pretence of affection, 
she stated that she did not give it anything in the 
biscuit, but that she put " just the least bit of tartar 
emetic" into a coffee-cup full of milk, of which 
she gave the child a few spoonfuls, a,nd then threw 



away the rest, on perceiving that the tartar was not 
entirely dissolved. She says that she had no design 
upon the child's life, but only wanted to make it feel 
sick, so that it might cry and be uneasy, and thus 
induce Gebhard to send for her back from Baireuth 
to quiet it : she then adds, that she waited in this 
hope at Baireuth for four weeks. That her account 
of the motives which led her to commit this crime is 
in the main true, is proved by various passages in 
several of her letters to Gebhard ; but her endeavour 
to extenuate her guilt is as evident in this instance 
as in all the preceding ones ; for the maid-servant 
Hazin states that Zwanziger gave the child a biscuit 
soaked in the poisoned milk, which filled not quite 
half a coffee-cup, instead of a whole one, and which 
she let the child drink right off, instead of, as she 
said, giving a few teaspoonfuls. 

It appears strange that this woman, after confessing, 
as she well knew, more than enough to ensure her sen- 
tence of death, should have endeavoured till the very 
last to explain away and gloss over her chief crimes, 
and, in the face of the most complete evidence, have 
altogether denied her lesser offences. It seemed impos- 
sible to her false and distorted nature to be quite sincere, 
or to utter a truth without associating with it a lie. 

When Anna Zwanziger fell into the hands of jus- 
tice, she had already reached her fiftieth year ; she 
was of small stature, thin and deformed, her sallow 
and meagre face was deeply furrowed by passion as 
well as by age, and bore no trace of former beauty. 
Her eyes were expressive of envy and malice, and her 
brow was perpetually clouded, even when her lips 
moved to smi]^. Her manner was cringing, servile, 


and affected, and age and ugliness had not diminished 
her craving for admiration. Even in prison and under 
sentence of death, her imagination was still occupied 
with the pleasures of her youth. One day when her 
judge visited her in prison, she begged him not to infer 
what she had been from what she then was, for " that 
she was once beautiful, exceedingly beautiful." 

The following story of her life is founded partly on 
the testimony of witnesses, and partly on her autobio- 
graphy, which filled eighteen closely-written folio 

Anna Schonleben was born at Nurnberg, on the 7th 
August, 1760, at the sign of the Black Cross, an inn 
belonging to her father, whose name was Schonleben. 
He died only a year and a half after her birth, and be- 
fore she was five years old she lost her mother and her 
only brother. After her mother's death she was put to 
board with an old maid at Niirnberg, and two or three 
years later she went to live with an aunt at Feucht, 
who, she says, was a second mother to her ; at the end 
of two years more she was sent back to Niirnberg to 
live with the widow of a clergyman. At last, when 
she was about ten years old, her guardian, a rich mer- 
chant, took her into his house, where she received a 
very good religious education, and learnt writing, 
reading, arithmetic, and the rudiments of the French 
language, besides all kinds of needlework, in which 
she acquired extraordinary skill. 

She had scarcely completed her fifteenth year when 
her guardian determined to marry her to a notary 
named Zwanziger. She did not like her future hus- 
band, who was already past thirty, and for a long time 
she avoided him and rejected all his offers. At length, 


however, her guardian's persuasions subdued her re- 
sistance, and in the nineteenth year of her age she 
became Zwanziger's wife. 

Married to a man whom she feared and disliked, and 
who moreover was always engaged either in busi- 
ness or in drinking, leaving her to lead a life of 
solitude and monotony, which contrasted most dis- 
agreeably with the gaiety of her guardian's house, 
she endeavoured to divert her melancholy by reading 
novels. " My first novel," said she, " was the * Sor- 
rows of Werther,' and it affected me so much that I 
did nothing but weep ; if I had had a pistol, I should 
have shot myself too. After this I read ' Pamela' and 
' Emilia Galeotti.' ' Thus uncultivated and frigid 
natures excite their imaginations to represent as really 
felt emotions they are incapable of feeling. Such 
natures strive to deceive themselves as well as others 
by a mere grimace of sensibility, till at last it becomes 
so habitual to them, that they are really incapable of 
distinguishing truth from falsehood, and end by poi- 
soning the very source of truth, the natural feelings. 
Hypocrisy, falsehood, and malice are fruits easily 
produced, and fearfully soon matured in a soul 
accustomed to disguise its real feelings under as- 
sumed ones ; and thus it is that sentimentality is 
perfectly consistent with total hardness of heart, and 
even with cruelty. 

The pleasures of sensibility were soon superseded 
by enjoyments more congenial to her character ; she 
came of age, and her property was delivered into the 
hands of her husband, who spent it in amusements, 
in which, as was but fair, he permitted his wife to 
take part. They gave dinners, concerts, balls, and 


fetes champetres, and spent their days and nights in a 
constant round of dissipation. 

A few years of this kind of life exhausted her 
fortune. She now had two children to support, 
and her husband was a confirmed drunkard, who 
often drank ten bottles of wine a day, and always 
wanted to be at the tavern ; he was as irritable and 
tyrannical when money for this purpose was not 
forthcoming, as he was obliging and indulgent when 
he got it. The admirer of ' Pamela,' she who had 
wept over the ' Sorrows of Werther,' now offered her 
person for hire. " But," said she, " I always had the 
delicacy to admit none but men of rank and discretion ; 
for from my youth upwards my principle has ever been 
to stick to those who could advance my fortunes ; and 
thus, I had the good luck to receive a great, deal of 
assistance from many distinguished men." 

After about two years, Zwanziger contrived a 
scheme for a lottery of watches, which for a time 
restored their fortunes. This improvement in their 
circumstances immediately brought with it a return 
to habits of dissipation ; the course of life which 
Zwanziger had entered from want and for money, she 
now pursued from habit and inclination. A scan- 
dalous and expensive connection with a Lieutenant 

von B gave rise to a violent domestic quarrel. 

Zwanziger left her husband, and went to her lover's 
sister at Vienna, but soon returned to Niirnberg in 
consequence of her husband's representations, where, 
at her lover's instigation, she commenced an action 
for divorce against her husband, and obtained it after 
a short suit. On the very day after the proclamation 
of the divorce she remarried him, and, according to 
her own statement, lived with him very contentedly 


till the day of his death. She says that she ended by 
being positively attached to him, for that on several 
occasions he had shown " a very noble way of think- 
ing, and a susceptible heart." 

On the 20th January, 1796, Anna Zwanziger was 
left a widow, after eighteen years of marriage. Her 
husband died after a short illness, and she was sus- 
pected of having poisoned him, but this suspicion was 
not confirmed on investigation. 

Ever since her husband's death Zwanziger's life was 
one tissue of misfortunes, follies, vices, and, finally, 
crimes. Her patrimony was consumed, and every 
other source of income dried up. She was unable 
to collect in all more than 400 florins. With this 
sum she went to Vienna, as she gave out, to esta- 
blish herself as a confectioner. Failing in this, she 
became housekeeper in several considerable families. 
She then grew intimate with a clerk in the Hun- 
garian exchequer, " of very fine sensibilities," by whom 
she had an illegitimate child, which she put into the 
foundling hospital, where it died soon after. She re- 
turned to Niirnberg after an absence of a year and a half. 
She had at first no intention of remaining long in 
her paternal city. But one day a certain Freiherr von 

W called upon her, and offered his protection, 

his friendship, and his love. She perceived, as she 
said, that in the Freiherr she had found a "very noble 
man," and thereupon hired a private lodging. Here 
she was constantly visited by her protector, who pro- 
vided her with money ; but, according to her own 
account, respected her virtue. She added to her 
means by making dolls. 

This connection lasted about three months, when 
the place of housekeeper to one of the ministers re- 


sident at Frankfurt was offered to her. Her noble 
protector at Niirnberg was so generous as not to stand 
in the way of her promotion, and she set out for 
the place of her destination with 100 florins, which 
he gave her. She did not, however, remain in this 
situation above two or three months, chiefly owing 
to her dirty habits and want of skill in cookery. 
According to her own statement, indeed, she stayed 
there a year and a half, and left her place for quite 
different reasons, 

She then hired an apartment over a hairdresser's 
shop at Frankfurt, for a month : entered the service 
of a troop of equestrian performers, whom she quitted 
at the end of eight days, as they were going to Bam- 
berg, and returned to the hairdresser at Frankfurt, 
where a merchant took her for a short time into his 
family as nursemaid all this within the space of a few 
months. So many misfortunes in succession, added 
to the insupportable thought of having fallen from 
her station as mistress of a house and family to the 
condition of a servant, worked so strongly on her 
feelings as to cause her to behave like a mad woman. 
She wept, laughed, and prayed by turns. She re- 
ceived her mistress's orders with a laugh, and went 
obediently away, but never executed them. 

In her extreme need she applied by letter to her 
noble friend the Freiherr, who accordingly again 
offered her his protection, and on her arrival at Niirn- 
berg received her with open arms. " But, to her 
astonishment" so she would have it believed "she 
now found a great alteration in his manners. He, 
a married man, grew free in speech and conduct, 
and at last so far forgot his dignity " as to cause her 


to have the prospect of becoming a mother." * As 
soon as her protector was informed of this fact, his 
manner became colder and his visits less frequent, and 
she soon ascertained that he paid far greater atten- 
tion to an actress of considerable reputation in Ger- 
many, who was then at Nurnberg. This shock, as 
she pretended, brought on a miscarriage; and not 
content with this, on the following day she borrowed 
a lancet from the people of the house and opened a 
vein in each arm, but, as she said, "was stopped in 
the execution of her purpose, and lost only a teacup- 
ful of blood." The owner of the lodging called upon 

Freiherr von W , told him what had happened, 

and showing him the fatal lancet, induced him to visit 
this female Werther on the following day. The Frei- 
herr appeared, but not as a penitent. When the 
teacupful of blood was shown to him, he laughed at 
her folly, and after a scene of violent reproaches on 
her side he turned his back upon her, and never saw 
her again. Burning for revenge, she collected his 
letters and sent them to his wife. She then went with 
Siegwart in her pocket, and accompanied by her maid, 
to the Pegnitz, resolved, as she asserted, to drown her- 
self. She seated herself on the bank of the river, and 
read Siegwart, till she carne to the song " Mein leben 
ist so traurig," &c., whereupon she jumped into the 
stream. Two fishermen who were near at hand res- 
cued her, with no other injury than a thorough 
wetting. A change of clothes was immediately 
brought her, and the wet ones were carried to the 
Freiherr as evidence of her second attempt at suicide. 

* This was probably a mere pretext to attach her lover to her 
more firmly. 


The maid who conveyed them received from the Frei- 
herr 25 florins, with the recommendation to her 
mistress to quit Niirnberg as soon as possible. She 
accordingly went to Ratisbon that very night, without 
even returning to her lodging. 

It is evident that the object of these two attempts at 
self-destruction was the same. She let herself blood 
with no intention to bleed to death ; and jumped into 
the water merely that she might be pulled out again. 
Nevertheless she ascribed, and no doubt truly, her 
hatred of mankind to the faithless and hard-hearted 
conduct of her protector. She said in one of her 

examinations, " It is all Freiherr von W 's fault 

that my heart is so hard. When I opened my veins 
and he saw my blood, he only laughed. And when I 
reproached him with having once before ruined a poor 
girl who drowned herself and her child by him, he 
laughed again. My feelings were terrible, and when 
I afterwards did anything wicked, I said to myself, 
No one ever pitied me, and therefore I will show no 
pity to others." 

At Ratisbon she lay ill for three weeks of a fever ; 
she then went to Vienna, thence back to Niirnberg, 
and finally into Thuringia, where in 1804 she en- 
tered the service of Kammerherr von S at Wei- 
mar, as housemaid. According to her account all 
the servants in the house were hard worked and ill 
paid, for which reason she soon got tired of it and 
resolved to leave it secretly without giving warning, 
and to carry away something "to make herself 
amends." " My plan," says she, " succeeded admir- 
ably. One day while my master and mistress were at 
dinner, I was told to play with the child to keep 


it quiet. I accordingly went with it into the drawing- 
room, where there was a small round table with a 
drawer, in which were a diamond ring, a number 
of pearls, earrings, jewels, and other such trinkets. 
Where, thought I, such things as these are left for a 
child to play with, it is clear that they are not much 
valued ; if they were, they would be locked up. At 
that moment the child was playing with a ring- 
case, and, after rolling it to and fro, put it into my 
hand ; I opened it, and on seeing the ring I felt 
as if some one stood beside me and said * Keep it !' 
I obeyed the inspiration, put the child to sleep, and 
quitted the house and the town before my master and 
mistress had left the dinner-table." This ingenious 
romance, in which she ascribes a deed which she had 
unguardedly owned to be premeditated, to the sudden 
inspiration of an evil spirit, and which is moreover 
calculated to give an unfavourable idea of the habits 
of order and care of her mistress, is utterly inconsistent 
with the very prosaic account of the affair given by 
the latter, who declares that the ring was taken out 
of a locked escritoire, the key of which was kept in 
her own work-basket. 

Having escaped from Weimar with her booty, 
Zwanziger took refuge with her son-in-law Sauer, 
a bookbinder, at Mainbernheim. Scarcely, however, 
had she been three days in his house, when a 
newspaper fell into his hands containing an adver- 
tisement from Weimar for the apprehension of his 
mother-in-law on the charge of having stolen a dia- 
mond ring. He immediately turned her out of his 
house, and on the same day she went to Wiirzburg, 
whence she had the audacity to write to the master 


whom she had robbed, reproaching him for bringing 
her into misfortune by this public advertisement. And 
indeed it had fallen upon her like a thunderbolt ; her 
name was dishonoured, she was outlawed arid civilly 
dead ; and in order to be tolerated among men she 
was forced as it were to cease to exist in her own 
person, and from this time forward she exchanged 
the name of Zwanziger for her maiden name of 

She wandered about Franconia for some time, 
staying now in one place and now in another, and 
finding temporary shelter and assistance chiefly 
among people of rank and education. At length, in 
the year 1805, she found a provision in the little 
town of Neumarkt, in the upper Palatinate. She 
established herself there to teach needlework to young 
girls, got a number of pupils, besides earning a good 
deal by sewing, and, according to the testimony of 
the magistrates, won universal good will by her in- 
dustry and her decorous behaviour. But her fate, or 
rather her restless discontented spirit, would not suffer 
her to remain quiet. Unhappily for her, old General 
N. came to stay a while at Neumarkt. She con- 
trived to insinuate herself into the old gentleman's 
favour, who descended to the closest familiarity with 
her, and on one occasion promised to provide for her. 
She was again filled with the memory of bygone days, 
in which she enjoyed the protection of " distinguished 
noblemen," and fancied that, old as she was, those 
days were now about to return. She already dreamed 
of going to Munich as the mistress of " his Excellency." 
She indulged these visions with feelings of perfect 
security, as she had " always heard that the Catholics 


nearly always kept their word." General N. left 
Neumarkt, and soon after she wrote to him, but re- 
ceived no answer. Some time after she wrote again, 
and falsely told him that she was with child. But 
instead of an answer, she received, through the hands 
of a clergyman, a trifling sum of money to stop 
her importunities. Not yet discouraged, she left 
Neumarkt, where she had found peace and support 
for a whole year, and went to Munich to present her- 
self in person before his Excellency, but was refused 
admission. She wrote a letter to him from the inn, 
but received a verbal answer through a secretary or 
servant to the effect that she was no longer to trouble 
his Excellency with her foolish impertinence ; he 
also sent her a small sum of money for her travelling 

Thus forced to leave Munich, she went to several 
different places in succession till her destiny led her to 
Pegnitz in 1807, and from thence to Kasendorf and 
Sanspareil, the scene of her greater crimes. 

In her youth this woman showed herself irresolute, 
coquettish, superficially accomplished, and perverted 
by reading sentimental novels. Always the slave of 
circumstances, she at first gave herself up to folly 
and dissipation, until she gradually sunk into vice, 
and at last sold her person for money ; and thus, 
with honour and self-respect, she lost her last social 
restraint and support. 

Her vanity, which she dignified with the name 
of delicate sensibility, drew her towards the higher 
classes ; she was often compelled to please and attract 
men whom she did not like, to assume a cheerful 
countenance among strangers by whom she was re- 


pulsed and humbled, and to smother the passions 
which were raging within her. She was too rest- 
less to live honestly by the work of her hands in 
quiet and retirement, and too proud to be satisfied 
as a mere domestic servant ; she therefore affected 
great zeal in the service of her various masters, and 
endeavoured to place herself upon such a confidential 
footing with them as to preclude all exercise of au- 
thority on their part. Thus, always acting a part, 
and forced to appear different to what she really 
was, she learnt the art of accommodating herself to 
those with whom she lived, and lost what little truth 
and honesty was still left in her. She became false, 
cunning, smooth-tongued, and hypocritical. There 
was a smile upon her lips, while within there was 
burning hatred ; her mouth spoke of God, while her 
heart took counsel of Satan ; she sowed hatred, while 
she spoke the words of conciliation ; her praises were 
calumnies, and her calumny was concealed in praise ; 
when forced to speak the truth, she invariably coupled 
with it a lie. But she was not yet prepared to become a 
poisoner, and a com pounder of poisons, as she showed 
herself at Kasendorf and Sanspareil. With no worse 
a character she might still belong to the world ; with 
these vices a man may command a distinguished 
place in the best society, as they frequently form the 
basis of what in fashionable life is called knowledge 
of the world. 

But Zwanziger thought herself unfortunate, and 
in her this feeling severed all the ties of human 
sympathy. Persecuted by destiny, or rather by the 
consequences of her own faults and vices, her ever 
ready self-love led her to ascribe every hope deceived, 


and every evil that befel her, to the malice or the 
cruelty of mankind. With such dispositions as these, 
is it surprising that her heart should soon be filled 
with envy and mischief? 

After being for twenty years a wanderer on the 
face of the earth, nearly fifty years of age, and still 
homeless, friendless, and only endured among men by 
concealing her real name, she now anxiously sought 
a resting-place and a provision, and that not as the 
maid-servant she now was, but as the mistress of 
a house which she had formerly been. She could 
no longer endure to belong always to others, and 
never to herself; continually to cringe and flatter, 
and to affect zeal in the service of those whom in her 
heart she hated ; to be always dependent and sub- 
servient, while her soul was filled with the recollection 
of bygone days, in which she was the object of atten- 
tion and flattery. She was resolved to escape from 
this position, or at all events to find some compen- 
sation for it. 

But no means of acquiring independence presented 
itself to her within the pale of social order, till at 
length she discovered the secret of a hidden power, 
by the exercise of which she might not only eman- 
cipate herself from restraint, but also rule unseen and 
uncontrolled. This secret power was poison. 

As Zwanziger never made a complete and sincere 
confession, we have no means of knowing at what 
time and on what inducement the idea first occurred 
to her whether suddenly or by slow degrees whe- 
ther she at once formed a systematic plan, or whether 
it developed itself little by little and almost uncon- 
sciously in her mind. Her confession almost always 


leaves us in the dark with regard to the secret springs 
which guided her actions, but the actions themselves 
are so numerous and so clear, that we may trace 
them to their source with perhaps as much certainty 
as the most open confession could do for us. 

Thus much is clearly proved by her whole course 
of action, that we cannot attribute it, as in the case 
of ordinary criminals, to any one ruling passion, or 
to one especial motive. Her attachment to poison 
was based upon the proud consciousness of possessing 
a power which enabled her to break through every 
restraint, to attain every object, to gratify every 
inclination, and to determine the very existence 
of others. Poison was the magic wand with which 
she ruled those whom she outwardly obeyed, and 
opened the way to her fondest hopes. Poison en- 
abled her to deal out death, sickness, and torture to 
all who offended her or stood in her way it punished 
every slight it prevented the return of unwelcome 
guests it disturbed those social pleasures which it 
galled her not to share it afforded her amusement 
by the contortions of the victims, and an opportunity 
of ingratiating herself by affected sympathy with 
their sufferings it was the means of throwing sus- 
picion upon innocent persons, and of getting fellow- 
servants into trouble. If she flattered herself with 
the prospect of marrying an already married man, 
at her will wives descended into the grave, and left 
their husbands free for her. She grudged the bride 
her bridegroom, and the wedding-feast was held in 
vain. In time mixing and giving poison became her 
constant occupation ; she practised it in jest and in 
earnest, and at last with real passion for poison itself, 



without reference to the object for which it was given. 
She grew to love it from long habit and from 
gratitude for its faithful services, she looked upon 
it as her truest friend, and made it her constant 
companion. At her apprehension arsenic was found 
in her pocket, and when it was laid before her at 
Culmbach to be identified, she seemed to tremble 
with pleasure, and gazed upon the white powder 
with eyes beaming with rapture. This love for poison 
may perhaps in some degree explain why she, who 
had confessed the most atrocious crimes and was under 
sentence of death, in her written memoirs speaks of 
her deeds as " slight errors," accuses of cruelty and 
injustice those who could bring destruction upon her 
for the sake of such " trifling offences," and boasts of 
her " piety" as only " too great," and as the origin of 
all her misfortunes. So true is it that habit recon- 
ciles us to everything, and that we are inclined to 
excuse the most atrocious crimes when they are com- 
mitted by one we love. 

On the 7th of July, 1811, the court at Bamberg 
sentenced Anna Margaret Zwanziger to have her 
head cut off by the sword, and her body to be after- 
wards laid upon the wheel. 

The sentence of death received the royal confirma- 
tion, accompanied by the command that the exposure 
of the body on the wheel be omitted. 

Zwanziger received her sentence without any per- 
ceptible emotion, and signed the papers presented to 
her with a firm hand. She passed the three days 
which remained to her of life with perfect composure. 
She confessed to her judge that her death was fortunate 
for mankind, for that it would have been impossible 


to her to discontinue her trade of poisoning. On the 
day before her execution she wrote, in the presence of 
the judge, a farewell letter to one of her friends at 
Nurnberg, in which she thanks her in measured terms 
for the friendship she had shown her, begs her for- 
giveness and sympathy, sends her love to other persons, 
and concludes thus : " I must now end ; the hour 
will soon strike at which my woes will cease. Pray 
for me. The 17th of September is the day fixed for 
my death, on which I shall receive from God the re- 
ward of my actions. I have already ceased to belong 
to this world." She wished to prove to the judge her 
sense of the kindness he had shown to her by the 
strange request that he would allow her, if it were 
possible, to appear to him after her death, and to give 
him ocular demonstration of the immortality of the 
soul. She remained constant to her character on the 
day of her execution. She listened to her sentence 
with the greatest composure, and without shedding a 
tear. While it was read she held her handkerchief 
before her face, as the crowd put her to shame ; and 
when the wand was broken over her,* she took cour- 
teous leave of the judge and officers of the court, as 
of some every-day company. 

A short time before her execution, the judge ap- 
pealed to her conscience to confess the innocence of 
Justice Glaser; but she persisted in her slanderous 
accusation that he had participated in her first murder, 
and with this lie upon her soul she laid her guilty 
head upon the block. 

* " Breaking the wand " in Germany answers to " putting on 
the black cap " in England. Trans. 




JAMES THALREUTER was the illegitimate son of Lieut. - 
Colonel von Rescher and Barbara Thalreuter, the 
daughter of an exciseman : he was born at Landshut, on 
the 10th September, 1809, and acknowledged by his 
father. His mother died the same year, and before he 
was three years old his father was forced to leave him 
in order to join the Russian campaign. The old Baron 
von Stromwalter, who enjoyed a retiring pension as 
assessor of the council, was an intimate friend of the 
Lieut.-Colonel, and with his wife's consent took the 
deserted boy under his protection ; and although he 
had two children of his own, a married daughter and 
a son in the army, he always treated Thalreuter as if 
he were his son. 

The Baroness von Stromwalter bore absolute sway 
over her family and household : her husband, who 
was a goodnatured, weak, and foolish man, knew 
nothing but what his wife allowed him to know, and 
took no part in any affairs except where his signature 
was necessary, and this he never ventured to refuse. 
In addition to this, the whole of the property was hers 
except her husband's pension, which was very small. 
She possessed funded property to the amount of 


] 1,000 florins (about 900/.), a small estate called 
Schwaig, and some rents, tithes, &c., from which, 
however, several debts had to be deducted. The 
fact that letters addressed to the old Baron were 
opened and answered by his wife, proves how little he 
was regarded in his own house. The Baroness was 
in the habit of treating him with cool contempt, even 
in the presence of a third person. 

The Baroness soon conceived the most extravagant 
affection for the lively young Thalreuter; she was 
charmed with the amusing rogueries of the mis- 
chievous boy : with her, his rudeness passed for 
pretty ways, his knavery for innocent childish tricks, 
and a lying disposition for the mark of a fertile, pre- 
cocious, and promising genius. 

His foster-parents lived for a long time on their 
estate of Schwaig, where farmers' sons and plough- 
boys were the sole companions of the spoiled boy, who 
thus had ever before his eyes examples of plebeian 
coarseness, vulgar habits, and still more vulgar ways 
of thinking. 

The foster-mother sent him to the Catholic school, 
where he is said to have been quiet and diligent. As 
he was intended for the army, he afterwards received, 
according to his foster-mother's account, instruction 
in French, drawing, and mathematics. But it after- 
wards appeared that Thalreuter had not the slightest 
tincture of learning or accomplishments; indeed he 
had made but little progress in the most elementary 
parts of instruction. Rewrote a bad hand, and made 
the grossest mistakes in spelling. But when only 
fifteen or sixteen years of age he possessed surpris- 
ing knowledge of commercial and pecuniary affairs, 


added to an inexhaustible talent for the invention 
of the most various, specious, and complicated lies, 
perfect in their smallest details, and worked up with 
masterly skill. This talent was combined with and 
assisted by a singularly comprehensive and accurate 

The older the boy grew the more firmly did he 
establish his ascendancy over those who lived but 
to minister to his pleasures. He was on the most 
familiar footing with his foster-mother, towards whom 
he felt neither affection, respect, nor gratitude. He 
only looked upon her as the person who was able to 
afford him the means of gratifying his desires. The 
Baroness on her side did everything she could to please 
her darling. She gave her money with equal readi- 
ness for excursions and pleasure parties, and for the 
payment of his debts, or of any damage he might have 
wilfully done. Nothing in the house remained closed 
or secret from him : he had free access even to the 
closet in which the Baroness kept her money. In 
short, the blind love of his foster-mother rendered 
him absolute master of her person and property. 
" He did what he liked with the Baroness," says one 
of the witnesses, " sometimes by fair and sometimes 
by foul means." His conduct to the poor weak old 
Baron, who was now seventy years of age, and who 
had treated him like his own child, was the worst of 
all. He never mentioned his foster-father but in terms 
of contempt; even in the presence of others and in the 
public streets he addressed to him the most degrading- 
insults ; nay more, some witnesses had even seen him 
strike the old man. 

Thalreuter employed the liberty with which his 


foster-mother indulged him, not only in making con- 
siderable debts on her account, but also in plundering 
her to a large amount. He carried away a number 
of things out of the house, and at short intervals of 
time stole from her bureau, to the keys of which he 
had free access, as much as 700 florins. When the 
Baroness at length discovered this deficiency, she de- 
termined to let her foster- son feel the whole weight 
of her displeasure, but she soon relented, forgave him 
this youthful peccadillo, and merely took the pre- 
caution of keeping the keys of her bureau out of his 
way for the future. This circumstance, added to the 
reflection that he could only gain possession of trifling 
sums by mere pilfering, led him to contrive a scheme 
whereby he hoped to prevail upon his foster-parents 
to place their whole property at his disposal for the 
indulgence of his extravagance. 

In the beginning of the summer of 1825, Thal- 
reuter let fall first some mysterious hints, and then 
some more definite expressions, with regard to his own 
birth, by which he said that he was destined to be 
something very different from what he now appeared. 
The inquisitive old Baron was forced to content him- 
self with the information that he, Thalreuter, was the 
son of a noble Count, but in a confidential moment he 
disclosed the wonderful secret to his foster-mother. He 
told her, with tears of joy, that "he was the son of the 

reigning Duke of B ; that his father had already 

lost one son by poison, and lest this should happen to 
him also, the Duke had had him conveyed, as soon as 
he was born, to Colonel von Reseller, his especial fa- 
vourite, who had undertaken to bring up his grace's 
second son. Von Rescher had accordingly passed for his 


father, and had observed the most inviolable secrecy." 
He related many other circumstances ; talked about 
a certain Count von Rosenthal, and a General von 

D , and spoke with the greatest affection of a 

certain Lieut.-Colonel von Hautbing, also a favourite 
of the reigning Duke, who had acquainted Thalreuter 
with his real origin. 

Notwithstanding the improbability of the whole of 
this story, which stood in direct contradiction with 
all that the Stromwalters knew of Thalreuter's real 
origin and they even possessed his certificate of 
birth the weak heads of the worthy couple were too 
easily turned by the grandeur of the romance, and 
the desire of increasing their limited means, not to 
give implicit belief to the tale. From time to time 
Thalreuter showed to Baron or Baroness Strom- 
waiter letters, always brought by himself, from his 
royal father the Duke, or from the imaginary Von 
Hautbing. In one, the foster-parents were thanked 
for their care of the boy ; in another, 10,000 ducats and 
many other fine things were promised as a reward 
for their services : the time of his grace's arrival was 
said to draw near, by which the good foster-parents 
would be deprived of their darling James. On one 
occasion Von Hautbing announced the arrival of some 
money ; on another, specious excuses were sent to 
account for the non-arrival of this sum, which, how- 
ever, might very shortly be expected. All these 
letters, of which there were about twenty from his 
grace alone, were such illegible scrawls, and so 
wretched in composition and style, that the merest 
schoolboy could not have failed to detect the impos- 
ture. But the very circumstance of the letters being 


so illegible afforded young Thalreuter the excuse for 
always reading them himself aloud to his foster- 
mother, and he thus had the opportunity of explain- 
ing away any momentary doubts which might arise 
in her mind. Before long Thalreuter appeared with 
a costly present of six strings of fine large pearls from 
his ducal father for his dear foster-mother, which was 
acceptable not only as an ornament, but also on 
account of its supposed value, to Baroness von 
Stromwalter, who was much embarrassed for want 
of money. Thalreuter prevented his foster-parents 
and others from having the pearls examined by per- 
sons competent to form an opinion of their real value, 
by representing how offensive such a proceeding would 
be to his grace. They were accordingly left in pledge 
with different people for several hundred florins. 
The fact that Thalreuter had bought mock pearls 
at a toy-shop for one florin and thirty kreutzers 
(about 2*.) the string, with money he had stolen 
which was discovered when the case came before the 
court remained carefully concealed from these sim- 
pletons. A small jewel-case, containing a pair of 
ear-rings, also a present from the imaginary Duke, 
and bought with Baroness von Stromwalter's own 
money at the same toy-shop, greatly contributed, if 
indeed anything had still been wanting, to confirm 
the belief of the Stromwalter family in the distin- 
guished origin of their foster-son. Thalreuter's inex- 
haustible fertility in lying kept the credulous old 
people in a constant state of excitement. He one day 
showed them a miniature of an officer covered with 
orders as the portrait of the Duke ; on another he 
brought them landscapes, which he said were views 


of the estates purchased by the Duke to reward his fos- 
ter-parents. One day when the Baroness returned to 
the house, Thalreuter met her, exclaiming that " it 
really was most unlucky that neither she nor the 
assessor had been at home ; for that he had at length 
seen his royal father, who had driven up with four 
horses, and had wished to speak to them, but could 
not wait, as he was forced to continue his journey im- 
mediately." On another occasion Thalreuter told old 
Stromwalter that Hautbing was staying at the Swan 
Inn, and wished to speak to him that evening. He 
then gave him a note, in which Hautbing cordially 
invited Von Stromwalter to crack a bottle of cham- 
pagne with him. The old Baron hastened to dress 
himself in his best suit, in order to pay his respects to 
the envoy of the Duke, but, before the appointed hour 
was come, Thalreuter, apparently fresh from the 
Swan, brought the message, with many excuses and 
compliments, that Hautbing had been compelled to 
set out upon urgent business, at a moment's notice. 

This extraordinary tissue of lies, transparent as it 
was, served nevertheless completely to blind the 
Strom waiters ; and Thalreuter, not satisfied with being- 
treated with increased indulgence and more liberally 
supplied with money than before, in his character of 
a prince in disguise, was encouraged by the complete 
success of his first stratagem, to attempt another still 
more profitable. He accordingly communicated to the 
Baroness as a profound secret, that the Vori Wallers, 
a distinguished, rich, and noble family in the town 

of , purposed to arrange a marriage between 

their daughter and Lieutenant von Stromwalter, and 
that the betrothal had already taken place, and every- 


thing would now be speedily concluded. Now Herr 
von Waller had never said a word of the matter to 
Baron or Baroness von Stromwalter, nor had the 
Lieutenant ever mentioned it in his letters to his 
parents. Nay, more; the Vori Wallers were almost 
strangers to the Strom waiters, and did not now make 
the slightest overtures towards a nearer acquaintance. 
But Thalreuter assured his foster-parents that the 
nature of the transaction made it indispensable to its 
success that they should behave as if they knew 
nothing at all about the marriage that Herr von 
Waller was bent upon taking "papa and mamma" 
by surprise. The foolish old people gave ready 
belief to this most palpable lie, because the Duke 

of B , Herr von Hautbing, and General D 

wished them joy, in successive letters forged by 
Thalreuter, of the highly advantageous match be- 
tween their sorffend Fraulein von Waller. Thalreuter 
had now brought his foster-parents to the point he 

Ere long he informed the Baroness that her son the 
Lieutenant must now pay, previous to his marriage, 
into the military fund the sum of 10,000 florins (re- 
quired in the army as a security for a man's ability to 
support a wife) ; that his father the Duke intended to 
pay the greater part of this sum, and that he expected 
the parents to contribute only a few thousand florins. 
The credulous mother, overjoyed at the prospect of 
her son's marriage, without a moment's hesitation 
delivered '2700 florins into the hands of this young 
rogue, who in a very short time squandered the whole 
sum in reckless extravagance. Not long after this 
Thalreuter brought the intelligence that Lieutenant 


von Stromwalter had had the misfortune to be arrested 
for seditious practices, and that his release from prison 
could only be effected by depositing securities to the 
amount of 1000 florins. The Baroness, terrified and 
distressed, again delivered to the disguised prince 
1000 florins for the release of her son. Soon after, 
Thalreuter informed her that young Stromwalter was 
involved in most pressing pecuniary difficulties, and 
required immediate assistance. The fond mother im- 
mediately sold a quantity of furniture in order to 
raise the required sum, which she intrusted to Thal- 
reuter. A second and still more serious embarrass- 
ment of the Lieutenant, which unless instantly relieved 
must break off his marriage, filled her with anxiety, 
and levied a fresh contribution on her purse ; a girl, 
according to Thalreuter's assertion, was with child by 
the Lieutenant, and money was immediately required 
to satisfy her, and to prevent the affaif from reaching 
the ears of the Von Waller family. This invention 
put several hundred florins into Thalreuter's pocket. 
Another time he extracted money on pretence of buy- 
ing ornaments for the bride. The supposed marriage 
of the Lieutenant also served as an excuse for taking a 
good deal of furniture out of the Stromwalter's house 
to set up the young couple, which Thalreuter sold on 
his own account. 

We may well ask how it was that neither Baron 
von Stromwalter nor his wife thought of visiting the 
Von Wallers, so as at any rate to sound them about 
the marriage. The old Baron did indeed once express 
an intention of so doing; but Thalreuter employed 
all his eloquence to prevent him, and drew such a 
picture of the danger which his visit would bring 


upon the intended marriage, that the weak old man 
gave up the intention, and abandoned himself with 
blind confidence to the guidance and direction of a 
boy of fifteen. Again, we may ask, how it was that 
the son had so little communication with his parents 
that the latter did not write to ask him a single ques- 
tion concerning his marriage ? How was it that the 
parents suspected nothing when their own son never 
let fall a word on such important subjects as his ap- 
proaching marriage, the money required as a deposit, 
his imprisonment, his love affair, his embarrassments, 
and the money which was sent to satisfy all these 
claims? Thalreuter provided against this also. He 
intercepted all letters from the parents to the son, and 
from the son to the parents, or he wrote in the name 
of the mother letters to suit his purpose, which she, 
without even reading them, confirmed by the addition 
of a few lines in her own handwriting. One letter 
from the Lieutenant, in which he requested his mother 
to inform him of the truth or falsehood of the reports 
of Thalreuter's unheard-of extravagance which had 

reached him at D , was, in spite of Thalreuter's 

precautions, given to old Baroness von Stromwalter in 
his presence. He no sooner saw the handwriting than 
he snatched the letter out of her hand and wrote in 
her name an answer to it, in which he disclosed to 
the Lieutenant the secret of his high birth. Baroness 
von Stromwalter, who was not allowed to read the 
letter, added these words : "Thus writes your loving 
and astonished mother, who rejoices in the prospect 

of going to D with James's father to embrace 

her beloved son." The son was thus deceived with 
the aid of his own mother, and Thalreuter did not 


fail to nourish his hopes and expectations by letters 
addressed to him from time to time. 

Baroness von Strom waiter met the enormous ex- 
penditure caused by Thalreuter's knavery and extra- 
vagance by selling out of the funds, borrowing money, 
and selling or pawning her jewels, furniture, &c. 
Thalreuter employed other means of obtaining money 
at his foster-parents' expense. He placed before them 
a paper, the written contents of which he covered with 
his hand or with a book, and requested them to oblige 
him with their seal and signatures : this, he added, 
was merely in jest, and he wanted their signature to 
this paper in order secretly to prepare for them a very 
great pleasure. Hereupon the papers were signed 
and sealed without more ado. It appeared on exami- 
nation that these papers were bills of exchange for 50, 
64, 200, or 275 florins, which Thalreuter instantly 
contrived to get exchanged. There was nothing in 
the house which the foster-son did not steal if it suited 
him to sell or to give it away. Chairs and tables, 
plate, copper and tin utensils, glass, clothes, bedding, 
pictures, clocks, watches, telescopes, snuff-boxes, and 
every sort of article, even to a mousetrap, were men- 
tioned among the list of things he had carried away 
under various pretences. If he wanted to make a 
present of the Baron's Cremona fiddle to any one, it 
was always that convenient nobody Lieut.-Colonel von 
Hautbing who wished to play upon it : if he cast his 
eyes upon a hot-water bottle, Fraiulein von Waller 
suffered from violent spasms, and it was immediately 
sent to her. After having plundered his foster-parents 
of all their money, he proceeded to squander the little 
landed property which still remained to them. He 


persuaded his foster-mother to sell her small estate of 
Schwaig, asserting that the sale would only be a 
simulated one ; that Von Waller was the real pur- 
chaser, and would give it as a marriage portion to his 
daughter. The sale took place, and the few thousand 
florins went mostly in the payment of old debts : of 
the little that remained, Thalreuter took 650 florins 
for himself, as he pretended to help the son out of 
fresh difficulties. The old foster-mother still pos- 
sessed a few tithes and rents ; these too were sold 
soon after, and the few hundred florins which re- 
mained to her after the payment of debts were 
delivered into Thalreuter's hands. The old Ba- 
roness now became anxious about the state of her 
property. Her capital was either gone or intrusted 
to Thalreuter, and the constantly recurring necessity 
of borrowing money or pawning her effects, proved 
to her how desperate her condition really was. But 
Thalreuter was too good a chancellor of the exchequer 
not to be able to quiet his faithful parliament by a 
skilfully contrived budget, and he assured Baroness 
von Stromwalter that her property had never been in 
so flourishing a condition as it was then. He made 
out an accurate statement of her possessions (includ- 
ing the estate of Schwaig which had been sold, and 
10,000 ducats promised by the Duke), according to 
which they amounted to at least 70,000 florins : this 
statement completely relieved all her anxieties. The 
last and worst trick he played these unfortunate old 
people was to make them believe that his royal father 
had just bought them a splendid house, or rather 

palace, in the town of A , in which they were to 

pass the rest of their lives. Without so much as in- 


quiring into the existence of this palace, the childish 
old people instantly gave notice that they should quit 
the house they then rented, and began to look forward 
with joyful impatience to the next Candlemas, 1826, 
when they expected the whole mystery to be un- 
ravelled, and their fortunes to be established. Mean- 
while Thalreuter, who by his last lie had cheated his 
poor foster-parents of the very roof over their heads, 
took care that their removal should not be trouble- 
some. Under pretence of furnishing the new palace 
a little beforehand, he carried off most of the few 
articles of furniture that were left, a yellow damask 
sofa, six chairs, &c., which we need scarcely inform 
our readers soon found their way into the pawn- 
broker's shop. 

The money thus obtained was squandered in 
the most reckless and foolish extravagance. He 
entertained his acquaintances, who were men of 
the lowest class, in the most sumptuous manner 
at different inns and taverns ; the most costly wines 
were not alone poured out like water at the table, 
but thrown into the adjacent ponds and dashed 
against the carriage-wheels ; the most delicate viands 
were thrown out of the window for boys to scramble 
for; splendid fireworks were let off to amuse the 
guests, among whom he distributed all kinds of ex- 
pensive presents with the greatest profusion. One 
witness even stated that on one occasion he moistened 
the wheels of the carriage he had hired with eau de 
Cologne. The toyman Stang, who was (though not 
entirely by his own fault) the constant companion of 
Thalreuter and partaker in his extravagant parties of 
pleasure, sold him, in one year, goods to the amount 


of 6700 florins, among which were fifty florins' worth 
of eau de Cologne. 

This way of life could not fail to lead him into 
other kinds of mischief, and accordingly, in April, 
1825, he was taken up in a drunken brawl and 
charged with assault and battery, but acquitted owing 
to want of evidence : two months after, he and several 
accomplices were tried for poaching. 

The company which Thalreuter kept was as low as 
his own manners, consisting chiefly of coachmen, 
grooms, &c. ; the only man with any pretension to re- 
spectability with whom he associated was Stang, the 
toyman, who on first witnessing the boy's extravagance 
thought it his duty to report it to Baroness von 
Stromwalter, but she replied, " that the expenditure 
of her James would not appear surprising whenever 
the secret of his birth and rank should be revealed ; 
that at present she could only say thus much, that he 
was the son of very great parents and would have 
more property than he could possibly spend :" she 
concluded by saying " that she was very glad that 
her James, who had hitherto associated only with 
peasants and coachmen, should have chosen so good 
a companion and adviser as Stang." The poor toy- 
man was of course overjoyed at the thought of having 
secured the friendship and custom of a prince in dis- 
guise, and no longer felt any hesitation in accepting 
Thalreuter's presents and joining his parties of plea- 
sure, and from this time forward they became almost 
daily companions. 

Thalreuter's conduct naturally attracted the atten- 
tion of the authorities of the town, but as the usual 
explanation was given to them by his foster-parents, 



of course they could do nothing but look on and await 
the solution of the mystery. 

Nor did they wait long. Thalreuter owed 70 florins 
for coach-hire to a man of the name of Block, whom 
he had promised to pay at the end of the year 
1825. On the 29th or 30th December Block went 
in search of his debtor, whom he found in a tavern, 
and demanded his money. Thalreuter instantly 
pulled a cheque out of his pocket and showed it to 
his creditor, saying that it was drawn in his favour 
for 450 florins by the advocate Dr. Schroll, that he was 
going to get it cashed and would then pay the debt. 
The coachman Block conceived some suspicion, and 
immediately informed Dr. Schroll of the whole affair. 
The latter declared before the local authorities, on the 
5th January, 1826, that he had never held any com- 
munication whatever with Thalreuter, much less given 
him an order for money, and that he demanded an 
examination into the matter, as a draft in Thalreuter's 
favour must be forged. 

In consequence of this accusation upon oath a 
search-warrant was issued and Thalreuter arrested on 
the llth January. Early next morning Baroness von 
Stromwalter hastened to the court and begged that 
her foster-son might speedily be set free. " It was 
indeed true," said she, " that he had robbed her at 
various times of sums amounting to not less than 700 
florins, but that she had forgiven him this offence 
long ago, and did riot wish him to be called to account 
for it." She at the same time declared herself ready 
and willing to be answerable to the whole extent of 
her property for any injury he might have done to a 
third party. She said that she had already paid 700 


florins for him, and offered, without hesitation, to pay 
all his fresh debts, which might amount to a few hun- 
dred florins more, and then all that had happened 
might be as though it had never occurred. But 
the astonishing confessions which Thalreuter made 
at his first examination soon induced the Baron and 
Baroness to alter their tone, and to represent them- 
selves as unfortunate victims, who had slept securely 
on the brink of a precipice and were only awakened 
by their fall. They now declared that they had 
always believed their foster-child to be the son and 

heir of the reigning Duke of B , but that now he 

had himself confessed that he, whom they had treated 
like their own son, had deceived them in the most 
shameful manner, and had cheated and plundered 
them of all their possessions, and even of their good 
name, and reduced them to absolute beggary ; that 
they accordingly renounced all their parental duties 
towards him, and left him to justice and to his well- 
merited fate. In spite of this declaration, hopes from 
time to time revived in them that this manifest reality 
might after all be only an illusion, and that the Duke 
might at last appear as a Deus ex machina to release 
his darling son from durance vile, and them from 
want and misery. 

Thalreuter confessed with the utmost frankness, 
but without the slightest remorse, or compassion for his 
poor old foster-parents, not only the forgery of the draft 
upon Dr. Schroll, but also of an order upon a bank for 
445 florins, which, however, he said, was not in- 
tended to be presented. He likewise recounted the 
long series of deceits and thefts which he had prac- 
tised upon his foster-parents ; but it was impossible, 



accurate as Thalreuter's memory was, to ascertain the 
precise amount of that which he had robbed from them, 
as he very naturally had kept no accounts. The old 
Baron von Stromwalter could give no information 
whatever with regard to the state of his own affairs, and 
referred everything to the superior knowledge of his 
wife, and she, who had blindly committed everything 
to the hands of her James, had nothing to trust to but 
the vague and general impressions on her own weak 
memory. Thus much, however, is certain, that during 
little more than one year Thalreuter, by various dis- 
honest means, got from them between 6000 and 8000 

Such a varied and ingenious tissue of falsehoods, 
such a complication of deceits so long and so success- 
fully practised by a boy of fifteen upon two old people 
of rank and education, seemed impossible without ad- 
visers and accomplices ; and accordingly Thalreuter, 
with the same apparent frankness with which he had 
confessed his own crimes, now met the questions of 
the judge by the assertion that Stang, the toyman, had 
persuaded him to the forgery of all the false docu- 
ments, that he had dictated the false bank order and 
fabricated the royal seal upon it, and that he had de- 
vised the scheme for cheating his foster-parents and 
had assisted in the execution of it. That among other 
things Stang had once appeared at Baron von Strom- 
waiter's dressed in a brilliant uniform and covered 
with orders, and had given himself out as an envoy 
from Thalreuter's pretended father. He added that a 
considerable part of the money thus obtained had 
been employed by Stang in increasing his business 
and enlarging his shop, and also that many of the 


things stolen from his foster-parents had fallen to the 
share of Stang ; and, not content with these accusa- 
tions, he charged Stang with being a cheat and a forger 
by trade, with carrying on a regular fabrication of forged 
drafts, lottery tickets, exchequer bills, and tontine 
scrip, and with selling plated articles stamped with the 
mark of real silver. All these charges were supported 
by detailed statements of specific facts. Thus, for 
instance, he enumerated a long list of bills forged by 
Stang, specifying the persons by whom they purported 
to be drawn, the houses on which they were drawn, 
the persons who accepted them, and the time when 
the bills were negotiable, accompanying his statements 
with so many minute circumstances that it would have 
been easier to doubt the light of the sun at noonday 
than the truth of his assertions. At every fresh ex- 
amination these charges were strengthened by new 
disclosures or new accusations, which, according to 
Thalreuter, recurred by degrees to his memory. 
Among other things Thalreuter even asserted that, in 
order to open a fresh supply to the failing resources of 
the Von Strom waiters, Stang had proposed to poison 
Baroness von Stromwalter's rich brother, and that he 
had prepared the poison, which he kept in a bottle 
in a place which Thalreuter described. 

Stang, a married man, and the father of a family, 
was not exactly the sort of person whom one would sus- 
pect of such actions. He maintained himself, to all ap- 
pearance honestly, by his business, which he had greatly 
extended by his activity, cleverness, and economy, 
and which was quite sufficient to support himself and 
his family respectably. But previous to the establish- 
ment of his toy-shop, which had happened within a few 


years, his life had not been altogether free from sus- 
picion. He was originally a tailor, and then entered 
the service of a merchant, who discharged him in 
a short time, and gave him but a doubtful charac- 
ter. He then wandered about the country as a con- 
juror. It was notorious that Thalreuter and Stang 
were continually together, and that the latter took 
part in all Thalreuter's dissipations, and also that he 
lorded it in the Strom waiters' house. Moreover it 
appeared impossible for a lad of fifteen to have con- 
ceived or executed all that has been already related, 
without assistance ; and Thalreuter's frank confession 
afforded sufficient ground for presuming that Stang 
was his accomplice, and for arresting him accord- 

Thalreuter's accusations were not, however, confined 
to Stang ; several other persons figured in this story 
as accomplices in a greater or less degree. Wolositz, 
a wealthy Jewish merchant, was pointed out by him 
as the receiver of Stang's bills, knowing them to be 
forged ; and the accusation was supported by a state- 
ment of circumstances which gave it every appear- 
ance of truth. He likewise named an innkeeper 
called Brechtal, as one intimately associated in all 
Stang's criminal secrets, and whose business it was 
to travel about and pass these forgeries in the disguise 
of an officer. Thalreuter accused both these men, 
but more especially Brechtal, of instigating him to 
rob and cheat his foster-parents, and stated that he 
had bought for the latter out of the stolen money a 
horse, a butt of wine, &c. ; and that inside of this 
butt hung a small watertight barrel, in which Brech- 
tal kept Stang's forged bills. Wolositz and Brechtal 


were accordingly taken into custody, and four other 
persons were involved in the same suspicion by Thal- 
reuter's charges. 

In order to obtain proofs of the truth of the 
various charges, and to secure the articles designated 
by Thalreuter as belonging to the Strom waiters, the 
houses of the suspected parties were searched ; Stang's 
house repeatedly, for no sooner was one search ended 
than Thalreuter prepared some new charge against 
Stang which rendered a fresh search necessary. 
Thalreuter, who was present on these occasions, em- 
ployed himself in pointing out to the authorities either 
those things which belonged to his foster-parents, or 
had been bought with their money, or the materials, 
proofs, and instruments of the various forgeries. Each 
search led to fresh discoveries on Thalreuter's part, 
until at length the rooms appropriated to the purpose 
were crowded with effects of all sorts. In Stang's 
private dwelling the authorities seized silver spoons, 
tin and copper utensils, glasses, bottles and jars, nap- 
kins and table-covers, bedding, children's toys, and even 
articles of clothing, such as Stang's boots and trowsers. 
Out of his shop they took all sorts of objects of the 
supposed plated material, and other articles of value, 
watches, lace, buckles, telescopes, eye-glasses, ladies' 
reticules, rouge-boxes, cosmetics, scented pomatums 
and soaps. The innkeeper Brechtal fared no better : 
they took from him his gun and a pair of waterproof 
boots (for Brechtal was also a shoemaker) ; his horse 
out of the stable, and all the wine out of his cellar. 

While these domiciliary visits were going on, the 
gaoler one day discovered, while changing Thalreuter's 
prison, seventeen florins concealed in his straw mat- 


tress. On examination, Thalreuter confessed that 
he had taken the opportunity of one of these visits at 
Stang's house, to steal this sum out of his writing- 
desk. When asked how this was possible, as one of 
the officers of the court constantly had his eye upon 
him, he replied that the presence of the officer had 
not prevented his gaining possession of the money by 
a sleight of hand which he had learnt from Stang 

When the charges against Stang and others came 
to be sifted, many of them proved to be utterly false. 
A lottery ticket found in Stang's possession, and de- 
nounced as a forgery, was pronounced at Frankfort 
to be genuine : several bills which he was accused of 
having forged and put in circulation, were never pre- 
sented. It was moreover discovered that no such 
firms existed as those on which some of the other 
bills were said to have been drawn. When this was 
represented to Thalreuter on his twelfth examination, 
he not only retracted a great part of his accusation 
against Stang, but declared his whole statement about 
Wolositz and the four others, who were most respect- 
able persons, to be sheer calumny. His motives for 
making all these false charges were various. One 
had excited his hatred at a fight, another had abused 
him ; a third had found fault with his conduct 
behind his back, while a fourth had laughed at his 
bad riding. Stang and Brechtal did not get out 
of the scrape quite so easily, but every step in the 
inquiry was the means of discovering some fresh 
falsehoods, more especially with respect to Stang. 
For example, all the articles which Thalreuter had 
asserted to be plated were found to be real silver : 


many of the things said to have belonged to Baroness 
von Strom waiter were not hers, but were proved to 
have been long in the possession of Stang and his 
family. The small secret barrel concealed in Brech- 
tal's butt of wine never could be found, and the bottles 
said to contain poison for Baroness von Stromwalter's 
rich brother were filled with most innocent scent and 
hair-oil. Thalreuter, however, retracted only so 
much of his accusation against Stang as was proved 
to be false, and although forced to declare one charge 
after another to be mere inventions, he still persisted 
through several examinations in accusing his boon 
companion of enough to ensure him an imprisonment 
of several years with hard labour. It was not until his 
twenty-second examination that he declared all his 
accusations against Stang to be pure inventions dic- 
tated by revenge, adding that he could never forgive 
Stang for taking advantage of his youthful inexpe- 
rience, and encouraging him in all his debaucheries 
and excesses. But these excuses for his false accu- 
sations were also false. In his twenty-sixth exami- 
nation he was compelled to retract even this, and to 
own that he had no other reason for involving Stang 
in this criminal prosecution, than that Stang had 
charged him too much for his wares : neither had he 
any cause for accusing Brechtal, beyond that he had 
occasionally scored a double reckoning against him. 

Thus it was proved beyond doubt that this young 
villain not only had no assistance in effecting the ruin 
of his old foster-parents beyond that of his own wit 
and the weakness and simplicity of the old people, 
but that he had also used the criminal court itself as 


a stage upon which further to display his instinctive 
talent for stealing and lying. 

Those innocent persons who had been taken into 
custody upon Thalreuter's accusations were imme- 
diately released. Thalreuter, in consideration of his 
youth, was sentenced, on the 25th September, 1826, 
to eight years* imprisonment with hard labour, for his 
forgeries, thefts, and other deceits. He was to receive 
twenty-five lashes on his entrance into prison as a 
further punishment, and to have warm food only on 
every third day. Directions were also given that this 
young criminal should receive all necessary instruc- 
tion, and that the greatest attention should be paid to 
his moral and religious training. 

Fortunately for the community and for himself, 
Thalreuter did not outlive the term of his imprison- 
ment. He died in 1828, in the Bridewell at Munich. 



UPON a streamlet called the Sittenbach, which runs 
at the bottom of a narrow glen enclosed within steep 
mountains, stands the lonely Schwarz Muhle, or 
Black Mill, at about 340 paces from the last house in 
the neighbouring village. The miller, Frederick Klein - 
schrot, a strong, powerful man of about sixty, lived 
there until the 9th August, 1817: he and all his 
family were Protestants. His business was a thriving 
one, and his property, as was subsequently proved, 
amounted to a capital of 13,577 florins. He had 
been married for thirty years, and had had twelve 
children by his wife Barbara, five of whom were 
still living. His eldest son, Leonard, was settled as a 
master miller at a distance, but the second and third 
sons, Conrad and Frederick, the former twenty- 
eight and the latter twenty-three years of age, lived 
in their father's house, the one managing the farm, 
and the other assisting his father in the mill. The 
two daughters, Margaret Barbara, aged twenty-three, 
and Kunigunda, aged eighteen, supplied the place of 

In the farm-yard belonging to the mill, and not 
above twenty paces distant from it, was a separate 


cottage, rented at a low rate by a day-labourer 
of the name of John Adam Wagner. . In addition 
to his rent, he was bound to work for the miller when 
required to do so, for six kreutzers a-day and his 

Besides the miller's family and that of the day- 
labourer, a stable-boy of about thirteen lived at the 
mill. He slept in a distant stable, so that he could 
hear nothing that took place there by night. 

On the 9th August, 1817, the master miller dis- 
appeared. It was not until the llth October of the 
same year that his wife informed the provincial 
magistrate that her husband had left his home nine 
weeks ago, taking with him all the ready money, and 
that they were without any tidings of him. She re- 
quested that he might be publicly advertized, which 
was accordingly done, but without success, and that 
all outstanding claims might be called in. The pro- 
perty of the absent man was accordingly put into the 
hands of trustees appointed by the court. 

About a year after his disappearance, it was ru- 
moured abroad that he had been murdered in the 
Black Mill. The report no doubt arose out of sus- 
picious expressions uttered by Wagner to one of his 
fellow-labourers of the name of Wiedman. One day 
when he was angry with the Kleinschrot family, he 
said to Wiedman, " If you did but know what I know, 
you would be surprised : if I were to tell of the miller's 
family, the mill would be shut up and they would 
all go to prison. If I want money, they must give 
it me ; and if I want the cottage, they must give me 
that too." 

On the 1st September, 1818, Metsieder, a gen- 


darme, informed the provincial court of this expression 
of Wagner's. Suspicion was further increased by the 
knowledge of the domestic quarrels which had con- 
stantly taken place in the Black Mill, and by the 
strangely embarrassed manner of the miller's family 
and of Wagner and his wife towards him (the in- 

The provincial magistrate had been already made 
aware, by former proceedings, of the bitter animosity 
subsisting between Kleinschrot and his family. Two 
months before his disappearance the old man had laid a 
complaint before the magistrate, that his wife and sons 
had possessed themselves of his keys and his money, 
and assumed the whole management of the house and 
mill. That they had ceased to treat him with reve- 
rence, or to obey his orders, and had even threatened 
him with blows. The wife and children, on the other 
hand, replied that the plaintiff was a profligate spend- 
thrift who neglected all the duties of a husband and 
a father, and wasted his substance on low women. 
The magistrate ordered them to submit to him as the 
head of the family, and to restore to him the lawful 
control over his own household. But on the following 
day the miller complained to the magistrate that his 
family would not abide by the decision of the court, 
and that his children had actually struck him. A com- 
mission was accordingly sent to reinstate old Klein- 
schrot in his rights as head of the house. But even 
in the presence of the commissioners, the family 
expressed the bitterest hatred towards him, and de- 
clared their settled determination to obtain redress 
from justice for his extravagance, profligacy, and 


These and other circumstances, added to the state- 
ment of the gendarme, were sufficient grounds for 
a serious inquiry. The provincial judge of the dis- 
trict took steps evincing great zeal in this matter. 
On the very night in which this information reached 
him, he caused Wagner and Wiedman to be arrested, 
and went in person to the Black Mill, to examine the 
miller's wife and her sons. Wiedman repeated before 
the court the expression used by Wagner, which we 
have already mentioned, and the common rumour 
that Kleinschrot had been murdered in his mill, and 
that Wagner had helped to bury the body in the saw- 
mill. On the other hand, Wagner and the miller's 
family maintained that old Kleinschrot had privately 
absconded. The elder of the parish, who was ex- 
amined as to the character of the Kleinschrot family, 
declared that he knew nothing against either them 
or Wagner; and a shepherd of the name of Sperber 
stated, that during the hay harvest of 1817 he had 
been employed by Kleinschrot to accompany him to 
a neighbouring village, and to carry a bag of money, 
which from its weight must have contained at least 
2000 florins. Hereupon the proceedings were ab- 
ruptly stopped. Wiedman was not examined upon 
oath, the miller's daughters were not questioned at 
all, and no search was made in the saw-mill, which 
rumour pointed out as the spot in which the body had 
been buried. The provincial judge, contrary to his 
bounden duty, sent no report of the case to the cen- 
tral tribunal, and thus the matter rested for three 
whole years. 

In the autumn of 1821 the provincial judge of the dis- 
trict was suspended from his office on suspicion of mal- 


versation. A commission was sent by the central court 
to direct the inquiry into his conduct, and to instal his 
successor. The commissioner had scarcely commenced 
the inquiry, when, on the night of the llth November, 
a fire broke out in the record chamber, which was 
kept constantly locked, and the greater part of the 
records were destroyed, to the extreme injury of many 
members of the community. Suspicion immediately 
fell upon the suspended magistrate, who had an es- 
pecial interest in the destruction of records which 
might betray his malpractices, and who moreover 
was alone able to effect it. The commissioner was 
directed to inquire into the origin of the fire, and with 
the view of discovering fresh cause of suspicion, and 
of confirming those already existing, he set on foot 
a rigid examination of the records which had escaped 
the flames, in order to discover those which the sus- 
pended magistrate might have had a peculiar interest 
in destroying. During the course of his research he 
found a small volume of documents relating to the 
appointment of trustees .for the management of the 
absent miller's property. The rumour that Klein- 
schrot had been murdered by his own family, and that 
the magistrate had received a considerable bribe from 
them for letting the inquiry drop and hushing up the 
whole affair, reached the commissioner's ears at the 
same time. On further search, several other papers 
connected with the proceedings were discovered. 

These were sufficient grounds for fresh investiga- 
tion, and on the 6th December, 1821, Wiedman's 
evidence was taken on oath, and Wagner and Anna 
his wife were summoned as witnesses. Wiedman re- 
peated his former statement: Wagner renewed his 


assurances that he did not know what had become 
of the miller ; but his wife immediately confessed 
"that in August or September, 1817, the miller's 
sons tried to persuade her husband to assist them 
in getting rid of their father: that she would not 
suffer it, but that the sons never ceased urging 
him, till at last her husband went one night into 
the miller's bedroom, and helped the sons to murder 
him ; whereupon the body was buried in the cleft of a 
rock near a field belonging to the miller." John 
Wagner, who in the meantime had been given in 
charge to a gendarme, in order to prevent any com- 
munication between himself and his wife, was ex- 
amined afresh, and the following confession extracted 
from him: 

Old Klein sch rot, who was a cruel husband and 
father, and a man of most abandoned habits, lived in 
constant enmity with his family. One morning in 
September, 1817, his son Conrad informed him 
(Wagner) that the Kleinschrot family had determined 
to put their father to death on the following night, 
in order to save themselves from utter ruin. Conrad 
promised to provide for him if he would assist them 
in the deed, and told him how it was to be accom- 
plished. After much hesitation he (Wagner) agreed. 
Conrad fetched him at night, and, with the help of 
the younger brother Frederick, they murdered the 
old man in the kitchen. The body was first buried 
in the saw-mill, but was afterwards carried away 
from thence, thrown into the cleft of a rock in a field 
called the Krumacker, and covered with earth and 
stones. The miller's wife and daughters were privy 
to the murder. 


On the 7th December, the court resolved upon 
the provisory arrest of the miller's family, and 
proceeded that very evening with a proper guard to 
the Black Mill, where the whole family were found 
saying grace after supper. When the prayer was 
ended, the warrant of arrest was shown to the mil- 
ler's wife and her two sons : every member of the 
family was then arrested, and confined separately. 
The mother and her two sons were examined on the 
spot, but confessed nothing. They asserted that all 
they knew was that Kleinschrot had been gone for 
some years, they knew not whither. 

On the following day Wagner was fetched from the 
prison to show where the body of the murdered man 
had been buried. He led the authorities up a steep 
ascent to the left of the mill, and across several fields, 
till they came to a cleft among some rocks, which 
Wagner pointed out as the spot. After removing 
several loose stones, they came to some leaves and moss, 
whereupon Wagner remarked, " that they must now 
be near the body." Under the layer of leaves and 
moss were found some tattered scraps of linen, part 
of a skull, several ribs, and other bones, which the 
physicians pronounced to be those of a man. When 
these were taken out of the cleft, Wagner said, 
" These must be the bones of the murdered Frederick 
Kleinschrot of the Black Mill, for his sons brought 
his body here in my presence four years ago, and 
threw it into this cleft ; we then covered it with leaves 
and moss. Moreover, Kleinschrot had remarkably 
fine teeth, just like those in the jaw-bone before us." 

The miller's children were then led separately, one 
after the other, first to the place where the bones had 


been deposited, and then to the cleft in the rock. 
As soon as Conrad saw the bones, he exclaimed, be- 
fore a question was asked, " That is my father !" and 
added, after a pause, " but I am not the murderer." 
Frederick looked at them without betraying emo- 
tion or embarrassment, and on being asked, " What 
are these?" answered, "Why, what should they be 
but bones ; but whether of a man or a beast I cannot 
say; I do not know the difference." The youngest 
daughter, Kunigunda, cried out when led to the cleft, 
"I know nothing about this: I know that about my 
father, but of what happened up here I know 
nothing; I am innocent, completely innocent." When 
it came to the turn of the eldest daughter, Margaret, 
she exclaimed, " I am innocent of the deed, I am in- 
nocent. I knew nothing about it till I heard my 
father's dreadful scream, and then it was too late. I 
have never had a moment's peace since. Oh, God ! 
what will become of us ?" 

Thus, then, a mystery was brought to light which 
had been concealed for so many years a murder 
committed by a hired assassin on the person of the 
miller, in which his wife, sons, and daughters were all 
more or less concerned as instigators or accomplices. 

Barbara, the wife of the murdered man, and the 
daughter of a miller, was born on the 8th April, 
1764. Her parents were, as the clergyman expressed 
it, " equally wanting in head and heart." Her me- 
mory and powers of comprehension were so defective 
that she could retain nothing at school. The little 
intellect she had ever possessed was so much impaired 
by the constant ill usage she had received from her 
husband during her long and unhappy marriage, that 


she occasionally sank into a state of stupidity bor- 
dering on idiotcy. Her husband's constant complaint 
was, that he had a wife so stupid that she could not 
manage her owu household. All the witnesses con- 
curred in describing her as a kind-hearted, patient, well- 
meaning woman, and of spotless life and reputation. 

The same was said of her children by the clergy- 
man and many other witnesses, who unanimously 
praised their piety, integrity, goodness, gentleness, 
love of order, and industry. But they were all defi- 
cient in intelligence, extraordinarily ignorant of every- 
thing which did not concern their own immediate 
occupation, and filled with the grossest superstition. 
They believed ghosts and witches to belong to the 
natural order of things. For instance, they were 
firmly persuaded that Wagner's wife was a witch, and 
Frederick took some trouble to convince the judge of 
it. As positive proof of the truth of his assertion, he 
related how, after refusing her something, she had 
plagued him unmercifully with the nightmare on the 
following night, and how she had once in his presence 
drawn circles round a haycock with her rake, mut- 
tering strange words the while, whereupon a whirl- 
wind suddenly seized the haycock, lifted it high into 
the air, and bore it away as far as his eyes could reach, 
which plainly must have been witchcraft, as the other 
haycocks remained quietly standing in their places. 

Old Kleinschrot was described as a man of consi- 
derable talent and information for his station in 
life, and as a good manager in a certain sense. He 
sent his children to school and communicated regu- 
larly twice a year ; but his character was in every 
respect the very reverse of that of his kiud-hearted 


wife and well-disposed children. Coarseness, cruelty, 
brutal violence, quarrelsomeness, and niggardliness, 
excepting where his own pleasures were concerned, 
were the principal ingredients of his repulsive and 
hateful character. He was an unnatural son, and had 
frequently raised his impious hand against his father, 
and forced him to take refuge from his violence be- 
hind locks and bolts. The son who illtreated his 
own father was still less likely to spare either wife 
or children, whom he looked upon as creatures born 
to serve and suffer under him. All his children on 
leaving school became his menial servants, and ful- 
filled their household duties with care and fidelity ; in 
spite of which he refused them decent clothing, and 
allowed them and their mother to suffer the greatest 
privations, more especially whenever he left home for 
several days, on which occasions he left them no 
money for their daily wants. His ill-humour vented 
itself not only in abuse, but in actual violence. 
The peasant Roll, who had lived for twelve months 
in Kleinschrot's service about twenty years before, 
stated that the old miller never let a day pass 
without quarrelling with and beating his wife and 
sons, who were then boys. In his fury he seized the 
first weapon that came to hand. He once struck his 
wife such a blow with an axe that she had her arm in 
a sling for fourteen days. The daughter Margaret 
asserted that her mother had lost half her wits from a 
blow on the head which she received from her hus- 
band some fifteen years ago. The old miller's kept 
mistress, Kunigunda Hopfengartner, who had formerly 
served at the Black Mill, had once been present when 
the miller flung a hatchet at his son Frederick, which 


must inevitably have killed him had he not started 
forward, so that it only grazed his heel. The school- 
master once saw him beat his wife and children with 
a bar of iron. 

The children, who beheld in their father only the 
tormentor and oppressor of their suffering mother, 
drew closer around her, and formed a defensive league 
among themselves, united by affection for the oppressed 
and bitter hatred towards the oppressor. The chil- 
dren felt bound to protect their mother, and to assist 
each other against the common enemy, whom they 
not only hated, but also despised ; for they knew that 
their father, notwithstanding his age, constantly asso- 
ciated with the lowest women, by whom he had 
several illegitimate children, and upon whom he 
wasted his money, while his rightful children were suf- 
fering want. Kunigunda Hopfengartner, a worthless 
creature who was sent to the house of correction soon 
after Kleinschrot's disappearance, had been kept by 
him for years, and declared him to be the father of 
her illegitimate child, born on the 7th April, 1817. 
When it was known at the mill that she was with 
child by old Kleinschrot, all the children, with the 
exception of the youngest daughter, rose up against 
him, and the quarrel reached such a pitch that the 
two sons, Conrad and Frederick, came to blows 
with him; one witness stated that Margaret, on 
being attacked by her father, snatched up a pitchfork 
with the words, " You old rascal, if you come near me 
I will stick it into your ribs." This, however, she 
strenuously denied. 

In order fully to understand the character of the 
murdered man, and the terms on which he lived 


with his family, it is necessary to hear the descrip- 
tion which the wife and children gave of him. " You 
cannot think," said the wife, " what a bad man my 
husband was. He knocked my poor head about till I 
quite lost my memory. Once when he had knocked 
us down, my son Frederick and I lay all night bleeding 
at the head in the hay-loft. He was a mischievous 
man, as all who knew him can testify : he illused me 
as no one else would use a beast, and for no possible 
cause : he was always particularly savage at the holy 
times of Christmas and Easter, and his fury against 
every one then knew no bounds ; formerly too he 
used to go by night to the place where four roads 
meet, and where they say three things are to be got 
money, or help in fighting, or something else, and I 
therefore believe that my husband stood in communi- 
cation with the Evil One." The eldest son, Conrad, 
drew the following picture of his father. " My 
father was a savage man who never treated us as his 
children, nor even called us his children, but always 
rogues and thieves. When I was twelve years old he 
illused me and left me lying in the mill quite sense- 
less, and I bear the mark of one of his blows over my 
right ear to this day, where there is a scar and no 
hair. Once during harvest he beat me over the loins 
so that I was obliged to crawl home and leave the 
horses standing in the field. I lay in bed for two 
whole days after it, and my father was cruel enough 
to forbid my mother to give me any food, as I earned 
nothing. No servant could stay with him ; he had 
three or four in the course of the year, so that my 
brother and I had to do all the work, and we did it 
willingly. Every one will allow that we have im- 


proved our property by our industry to the amount of 
1000 florins and more : and yet he was never satisfied 
and constantly abused us and said that we cost him 
more than we earned. He never gave us clothes, and 
we went about in rags. But ill as he treated us, he 
treated our poor mother far worse. He was a monster 
in every respect, he could not endure our mother, 
called her by the vilest names, and frequently beat 
her so that she lay in bed for days : she bears the 
marks of his cruel treatment on her body to this day. 
Sometimes he kicked and beat her till she was so 
covered with blood that no one could have recognised 
her. Thus we lived in constant fear of our lives. 
Meanwhile he had three illegitimate children by wo- 
men upon whom he spent the money which my mother 
had brought him at their marriage, for all the property 
was hers. We should have sought our living else- 
where long ago, but that we must then have left our 
mother exposed alone to our father's cruelty. At 
length we sought for protection from justice, but found 
none. Had he been like any other father, he might 
have been happy with his children, for we were honest, 
industrious, and well-conducted, as everybody knows. 
But he was a monster whose only pleasure was in tor- 
menting others. He often beat his own father, who 
endeavoured to secure himself by six-fold bolts and 
locks, as you may see in the mill to this day, as well 
as the marks of the hatchet with which he tried to 
break open the door into the room where my grand- 
father had taken refuge, although it is now above 
twenty years ago." 

The youngest son, Frederick, expressed himself 
much in the same manner " He was not a father, 


but a monster, who hated us from our youth up, and 
almost killed our mother by ill-usage. His whole 
way of life was a shame and a disgrace to us : we had 
plenty of quarrels and blows from morning to night, 
and but little food or clothing. Six months before he 
was put out of the way, my father dealt me such a 
blow on the head with a hoe, that the blood ran down 
into my shoes, and the wound did not heal for three- 
quarters of a year : the scar is still there. Once 
when I was leaving the mill I heard dreadful screams 
from the kitchen, and on going in I found my father 
striking my mother with a hatchet and threatening to 
kill her. He would certainly have murdered her but 
for me, for she was bleeding violently. I ran for- 
wards, wrenched the hatchet out of his hands, and 
held him until my mother had escaped. I then let 
go of him and ran away, but not till I had received 
one blow on the loins and another on the arm, which 
prevented my working for several days. My mother 
and I slept that night in the barn, as we did not dare 
return to the house. My mother's body is covered 
with scars. My father's life was scandalous, arid had 
been so from his youth. He had many illegitimate 
children, although his lawful ones were already grown 
up ; we even found him in bed with our maid-servant. 
He stole money from his father to spend in these pro- 
fligate courses. A short time before his father's death, 
as I well remember, he seized the old man by the feet 
and dragged him down the stairs and out at the mill- 
door, so that his head was bruised and battered and 
covered with blood. Such was the monster we had as 
a father. Alas ! ever since we were born we have 
never known peace ; while our father lived we were 


tortured by him, and now since his death we are tor- 
tured by our consciences." 

It is true that these statements were made by the 
murderers; but the coincidence of their testimony 
with the character given of the old miller by other 
impartial witnesses, leaves no doubt of their truth : 
indeed it is only on the supposition of such a father 
that we can comprehend how a wife and children, 
praised by all for their kindness and integrity, could be 
driven to commit so fearful a crime. He was himself 
the cause of all that befel him, and must be held 
morally answerable for a large share of the heavy 
guilt of the murder. His fate appears but as the act 
of avenging justice. He who had ill-treated and 
struck his own father fell by the hands of an assassin 
hired by his own children. 

The following account of the murder and of its im- 
mediate cause is compiled from the confessions of the 

The mother and sons had several times, in their 
impatience to be freed from their intolerable domestic 
oppression and misery, given utterance, even in the 
presence of strangers, to ideas of murder. Once, 
about a year or even longer before the murder, one 
of the sons said to John Schuster, a forester who acci- 
dentally came to the mill, " that he only wished he 
would shoot his father for a roebuck ;" and the mother 
added that " he should not then need to buy flour for 
some time to come." Schuster did not know whether 
this was meant in jest or earnest, and went away 
without answering a word. One evening, before 
Wagner lived in the cottage near the mill, a labourer 
of the name of Frederick Deininger was at work for 


the miller's family, and one of the sons said to him, 
" Whoever would put my father out of the way should 
be well paid for the job." Deininger is said to have 
replied that he could not do it, as the old man would 
be able to master him. The miller's family declared 
that these expressions fell from them in anger caused 
by a sense of recent injuries, and not from any pre- 
concerted scheme. Thus much, however, is certain, 
that the idea of killing the old miller was not strange 
to them, and that they would have been well pleased 
if any one to whom they had said as much in their 
auger had offered to do it for them. They wished him 
to be killed, but not by themselves. 

An expression which the provincial judge impru- 
dently repeated several times tended to strengthen 
their desire for the old miller's death. When the 
sons endeavoured to obtain protection against the 
cruelty of their father, or complained of his extrava- 
gance, the judge dismissed them with the dishearten- 
ing observation, " I can neither assist nor advise you ; 
you have a bad and quarrelsome father ; the best thing 
that could happen would be his death." The mother 
and children concurred in saying that these words 
made the deepest impression upon them, and pointed 
out, to them the only way that was open to them. It 
was evident that nothing was to be hoped from the 
protection of the law, and that there was no release 
for them but by their father's death, which now ap- 
peared to them to be both necessary and justifiable. 

Subsequently, when the girl Hopfengartner accused 
the old miller of being the father of her child, at 
which the irritation of the miller's family was so 
great as to cause the sons for the first time to lay vio- 


lent hands on their father, these thoughts took a 
stronger hold of their minds than ever. Just at this 
time too, unhappily for them, a man was thrown in 
their way well able to understand thoughts of this 
kind, and who knew how to work upon men and to 
place their thoughts in a light which deprived them 
of nearly all their horror. This was Wagner, the 
day-labourer, a man exactly fitted to suit those who, 
without being villains themselves, stood in need of a 
villain to do that for the which they felt themselves 
too fainthearted. 

John Adam Wagner was the son of a day-labourer, 
who was still living when the trial took place. He 
was born on the 9th November, 1769, and was a 
Lutheran. Common report gave him a very bad 
character, especially for cruelty. One of his childish 
amusements consisted in catching birds, putting out 
their eyes, and then letting them fly. He served first 
in the contingent of an imperial city, then for twenty 
years in the Prussian army, and in 1807 in that of 
Bavaria. He afterwards wandered about Prussia, 
Hanover, and Bohemia, and returned home in 1808 
accompanied by a mistress. He then served for three- 
quarters of a year in the preventive service, after 
which he married a widow with two children, and 
supported himself with difficulty as a labourer. 
Those whom he served found no particular fault 
with him, excepting a certain unwillingness to work, 
owing probably to his long military career. Another 
consequence of this was an utter want of feeling 
added to his originally cruel nature, which he ex- 
hibited in the most revolting manner upon this 
trial. A murder, committed with every prospect of 


concealment, and for which he was well paid, was 
no more to him than any other task ; at least he 
related all the circumstances of the horrid deed as 
circumstantially and as coolly as a labourer might do 
when called upon by his master to render an account 
of the work done on a particular day. 1817, the 
year of Kleinschrot's disappearance, was a year of 
famine, and Wagner had a wife and four children to 
support, for whom his wages were insufficient to buy 
bread, and he and his family often went supperless 
to bed. When, therefore, a prospect was opened to 
him of present gain and future support, he was ready 
to do anything. 

It was Conrad Kleinschrot's misfortune to be con- 
stantly thrown into the company of this man, and 
while at work with him he often talked freely of the 
misery of his home and of his bitter hatred towards 
his father. On the 1st May, 1817, Conrad told 
Wagner that his father had again left home on the 
previous night, taking with him all the money, and 
that his mother and the family knew not what to do. 
" The best would be," said Wagner, " for some one to 
follow him, knock him on the head, and take away 
his money ; it would be easy to kill him in the Hin- 
terhof " (a dark ravine about three miles from the 
mill) : " there he might lie, and no one be the wiser." 
Conrad answered, " Dare you do it ?" " To be sure 
I dare," said Wagner. Conrad then objected that " a 
murdered man, especially one so wicked, would find 
no rest in his grave, but would walk the earth as a 
ghost." But Wagner bade him be at ease, for that 
" he knew how to lay the old man." 

This conversation did not, however, lead to any 


immediate result ; it was merely an expression of the 
general feelings and wishes of the family. The same 
subject was, however, the constant theme of conversa- 
tion whenever Conrad was alone with Wagner, and 
the only objections he raised were the possibility of 
discovery and fear of the old man's ghost. But 
Wagner was always ready with an answer to every 
scruple, doubt, or fear. 

About six or eight weeks before the miller's death 
Conrad and Wagner were again thrown together, 
and Conrad again exclaimed, " How lucky it would 
be if the old man were never to return." Wagner, 
who saw that the family were not yet prepared for 
violence, endeavoured to tempt them to an indirect 
attempt on their father's life, and proposed to destroy 
the old man by a sympathetic charm. " He knew," 
said he, " a piece of magic by which he could make 
the old man perish like a waxen figure within four 
weeks." Conrad, who was as superstitious as the 
rest of his family, replied, " It would indeed be best 
if we could get rid of my father in this way," and 
entered heartily into the plan. His mother had al- 
ready consulted Anna Wagner upon a scheme of this 
nature, and had given her a pair of old Kleinschrot's 
stockings, which were to be hung inside the chimney. 
The mother and sons waited some weeks hoping that 
the black art would produce its effect, but at length 
they informed Wagner that his magic had failed. 
Wagner, who was not easily disconcerted, rejoined, 
" Well, if magic fails, I must rid you of him by other 

On the 7th June, 1817, when old Kleinschrot com- 
plained to the local authorities of the conduct of his 


family, he also petitioned that, to maintain his paternal 
authority and the order of his household, his sons 
should be sent on the Wanderschaft ;* and on seeing 
that his sons did not obey the verbal order of the 
court, he renewed the request in writing. The mother 
and children were in terror lest old Kleinschrot should 
succeed in this application. She could not endure the 
thought that her sons, her only protection against her 
husband's cruelty, should quit her; and the sons, 
between whom the greatest unanimity prevailed, could 
not resolve to leave their mother exposed to the in- 
human treatment of their father. In addition to this, 
the family were informed that the girl Hopfeugartner 
publicly boasted that the old miller was going to turn 
all his own family out of doors and to take her as his 
housekeeper: they likewise suspected that he in- 
tended to procure a formal divorce from his wife. 

During all the early part of August Kleinschrot 
was busily employed in his own chamber in writing 
something which the wife and her children imagined 
to be intended against themselves. The youngest 
son, Frederick, probably at his mother's instigation, 
stole into his father's room on the 9th August to dis- 
cover what he had been writing all the week, and 
found a memorial addressed to the provincial autho- 
rities demanding the removal of his wife and sons 
from the mill. Frederick hastened upstairs with the 
paper and read it to his mother and to Conrad. 
Their consternation was extreme, especially that of 
the mother, who lamented at the thought of being 
divorced in her old days to make room for a harlot. 

* The custom of travelling for three years, and supporting them- 
selves by occasional work and sometimes by begging. Trans. 


Wagner's suggestion was mentioned, and it was re- 
solved that he should murder the old miller on the 
following night. It is not known who first gave 
utterance to their common feeling ; in all probability 
it was the mother; at least so Conrad positively 
asserted. The mother did not deny that she and 
her sons had consulted together about putting her 
husband to death ; but whether, when the murder 
was determined upon, she had told Conrad that he 
might go and settle the matter with Wagner, was 
more than she could say, as her memory was so de- 
fective. She, however, admitted that if her sons said 
so, they were probably right ; she could no longer re- 
member the exact words in which she had consented to 
her husband's murder ; but in all her confessions she 
repeated that the fear of separation from her children, 
and of being divorced in favour of a worthless woman, 
had led her to say to her sons, " that she consented to 
Wagner's being employed to kill her husband." She 
even added, " If I had not agreed to it, the murder 
would never have happened ; but I did agree, and I 
said so to my sons." 

The two daughters, Margaret and Kunigunda, had 
taken no part whatever in the consultation upon the 
murder. When it was already determined and Fre- 
derick was leaving the room, they entered it acci- 
dentally and found Conrad with his mother. Their 
brother then told them what was about to happen, 
and, according to her own account, Margaret replied, 
" Do not do this. If our father leads a bad life, he 
will have to answer for it in the next world : let him 
live, and leave him to his conscience if he has behaved 
ill." On hearing that Wagner was to put her father 


out of the way t that very night, she said to her 
brother, " Do not suffer it ; Wagner is a bad man, 
who will bring you into trouble in order to get 

Frederick, the younger son, appears to have taken 
no part in the transaction until the day of the murder. 
He had no communication with Wagner, and did not 
remember that his brother had formerly told him 
that Wagner had offered to rid them of the old 
man. On the contrary, he repeatedly stated that on 
the 9th August, after reading the memorial which he 
had found in his father's chamber, his mother, as he 
thinks, proposed that the miller should be murdered 
by Wagner ; whereupon he had exclaimed, " Oh, 
mother, that would be a horrid thing ; I would rather 
go away than that such a thing should happen." But 
when his brother represented to him that " if they two 
went away, the miller would marry a worthless woman, 
and have a number of children and waste their whole 
patrimony ;" and his mother added that " there was 
no help for it;" he at length gave way, saying, 
" Well, as you please, if you think it right to do it ; 1 
agree to anything." 

When the matter was thus settled, Conrad went 
out, called Wagner, and asked him whether he would 
still undertake to murder the old man on the follow- 
ing night. On Wagner's replying in the affirmative, 
Conrad promised to give him 200 florins down, and 
never to lose sight of him, but to give him something 
every year. 

They passed the afternoon together in the fields, 
talking the matter over, and devising how the plan 
was to be carried into execution. Conrad reiterated 


his former doubts as to whether Wagner really thought 
it would succeed, and supposing it did, whether his 
father would rest in his grave, and whether the crime 
might not be discovered, and their lives endangered. 
Conrad even desired him to consult his wife on the 
subject. But Wagner overruled his scruples, and it 
was definitively settled that the murder should take 
place on the following night. 

On the evening of the 9th August, old Kleinschrot 
supped in company with his wife, his children, and 
the Wagners. After supper Wagner and his wife 
returned to their cottage, and Kleinschrot went into 
his bedroom, which communicated with the kitchen 
by a small flight of steps. At about ten o'clock, 
after his mother and sisters were in bed, Conrad went 
to Wagner, and told him that everything was quiet. 
Wagner immediately armed himself with a hatchet, and 
returned to the mill to earn his two hundred florins. 
Wagner and Conrad had agreed during their after- 
noon's walk that old Kleinschrot should be lured into 
the dark kitchen, and there killed by Wagner. After 
a long opposition, Frederick consented to ring the 
mill bell, which would bring his father out of his 
bedroom. At first he refused, as he knew that his 
father was in the habit of going into the mill every 
night, and he thought that Wagner might wait till 
then. At length, however, he went to the mill, and 
rang the bell. Meanwhile Wagner stood beside the 
steps leading from the bedroom, with the axe in his 
hand, and Conrad went to his own room, and sat on 
his bed waiting the event. 

Wagner stood with his hatchet raised and ready to 
strike, when the mill bell rang violently. The old 



miller came out of the bedroom in his shirt, and when 
he had reached the lowest step, Wagner aimed a 
blow at his head with the back of the hatchet. He, 
however, missed it in the dark, and struck him some- 
where else. Either from fright or pain the miller 
uttered a loud scream, which was heard by Conrad 
and his mother and sisters in their beds, and endea- 
voured to run back into his room. But Wagner, 
having missed his blow, threw away the hatchet and 
seized the miller, who defended himself, occasionally 
exclaiming, " Oh God ! oh God ! let me go," " Let 
me go, my dear fellow, and I will never injure you 
again as long as I live." They struggled together 
for some time, and such was the old miller's strength, 
that Wagner at one time thought he should be over- 
powered by him. At length Wagner remembered 
that he had a clasp knife, and, loosening his hold 
of the miller for a moment, he drew it out of his 
pocket, opened it against his own body, and thrust 
the blade into the old man's side. 

On hearing his father scream, Conrad concluded 
that Wagner's blow had failed, and rushed out of the 
house in terror ; he ran round the saw-mill, but soon 
returned, and on hearing repeated cries for help, went 
into the kitchen. His father had received the stab, 
but still stood upright, moaning. Conrad took a log 
of wood from the pile in the corner of the kitchen, 
reached it to Wagner, and then ran out into the road 
to see if all was safe. 

Wagner, who had dropped his knife in the mean- 
time, struck the miller on the head with the billet of 
wood. He staggered, and fell back upon the hearth. 

But this blow lost part of its force owing to Wag- 


ner's proximity to his victim, and the miller still 
lived, and lay groaning. Wagner therefore snatched up 
a brick which lay on the hearth, and struck the miller 
with it on the head, until the brick was broken to 
pieces. The miller at length ceased from moaning. 

Meanwhile Conrad had gone in again, but he had 
scarcely lain down on his bed when Wagner came 
and told him that his father was dead, and requested 
him to bring a light. Conrad went to the mill to 
fetch Frederick, and the two brothers returned to the 
kitchen with a candle. They found their father wel- 
tering in his blood, but still breathing faintly. Wag- 
ner then asked Frederick for a string : he gave him a 
bit which he happened to have in his pocket, and 
went away. Wagner placed it round the miller's 
throat, intending to strangle him, but did not tighten 
it, as the old man was already dead. 

While all this was going on, Margaret went quietly 
to sleep, and even after her father's fearful scream had 
awakened her, she did not ask what had become of 
him. Cunigunda also went to bed at about ten 
o'clock, at her brother's request, because, as she said, 
she had done her work, and was afraid to interfere, 
lest her brother or Wagner should do her a mischief. 
Wagner and Conrad dragged the dead body into the 
bedroom, laid it on the floor near the bed, and locked 
the door. After refreshing himself with a glass of 
brandy, Wagner returned to his cottage to rest. 
Conrad went upstairs to his mother, exclaiming, 
" Oh, mother, if the deed were not done, it never 
should be done." The mother did not shed a single 
tear ; for, said she, her husband had used her so 
ill that she thought that God himself must have 



inspired her children and herself with the idea of 
having him murdered. When asked on her final 
examination, whether she believed that it would go 
well with her after death, she replied, " Certainly I 
do believe that I shall be received into God's mercy ; 
for I have suffered so much in this world, that there 
would be no such thing as justice if it were not made 
up to me in the next." 

Early on the following morning, which was Sunday, 
Conrad fetched Anna Wagner. She washed out the 
blood-stains in the kitchen, and received the bucket 
she had used as a reward. Conrad and his brother 
went in the afternoon to the fair at Petersau, not for 
pleasure, but because they had been invited by their 
customers, and could not well avoid going. Far 
from amusing themselves, they stole away to a neigh- 
bouring hill, fell on their knees, and prayed to God 
for forgiveness of their crime. 

Early on Monday morning Wagner rolled the 
corpse in some linen, given him for the purpose by 
the old miller's wife, and sewed it up in a sack which 
Anna Wagner had made of some coarse canvas. 
He then dug a hole at the back of the saw-mill, 
whither Conrad and Wagner carried the corpse at 
midday, and Wagner buried it with the assistance of 
his wife. Frederick stamped down the loose earth 
over his father's grave, while his mother stood in the 
doorway praying. 

Here the dead body lay for nearly a year ; but 
about Michaelmas, 1818, when it was rumoured 
abroad that the old miller had been murdered, and 
buried in the saw-mill, it was disinterred by Wagner 
and Conrad. The two brothers carried it on a bier to 


some rocks in a field called the Weiheracker, where 
they and Wagner covered it with stones aud moss. 
Wagner was rewarded for this job with another hun- 
dred florins. 

This case presented many difficulties ; above all, 
that of the That bestand, or fact of a murder having 
been committed. 

It was impossible to prove the violent death by 
inspection of the remains (augenschein), as the body 
was entirely decomposed, and the bones so scattered, 
that there were not enough forthcoming to form a 
complete skeleton. The physician supposed that some 
of the larger bones lay still deeper and had not been 
discovered, but it is more likely that a fox or some 
other animal had knawed the body and carried away 
the missing parts. 

The only fact juridically proved was that old 
Frederick Kleinschrot was no longer alive ; but ac- 
cording to the Bavarian code the confession of one 
criminal is, under certain circumstances, equal to the 
testimony of a competent witness ;* how much 
stronger therefore were the concurrent confessions of 
several accomplices, whose statements were evidence 
not only against themselves, but against each other ? 
But this same code further requires^ that when a 
violent death is not distinctly proved by the remains, 
the witness or witnesses shall prove that " the in- 
juries were of such a nature that death must neces- 
sarily have ensued from them." This was not the 
case with old Kleinschrot : there was nothing to 

* Art. 280, No. 3, Part Il.^of the Strafgesetzbuch.' 
f Ibid., Art/269, 271. 


show that the stab or the blows on the head were 

Thus, therefore, although no reasonable man could 
doubt that the miller, Frederick Kleinschrot, died of 
the injuries which he had received, the legal evidence 
was incomplete. For although it was certain that he 
was dead, and moreover that his death had been 
caused, according to the full confession of the accom- 
plices, by bodily injuries inflicted by themselves, 
nevertheless it was not proved either from inspection 
of the remains, or by any witness, or by the opinion 
of the examining physician, that these injuries were 
fatal. The Bavarian criminal law requires certainty, 
and does not admit the ordinary conclusion from post 
hoc to propter hoc. 

As the murder had not been judicially proved, 
sentence of death could not be passed upon any one 
of the criminals; but they were found guilty, accord- 
ing to their several gradations in crime, of attempt to 
murder.* Wagner had done everything in his power 
to accomplish the murder; nothing was wanting but 
the legal proof that his attempt had been successful. 
Conrad also was evidently a principal : he had hired 
the assassin and originated the deed, which in his 
case was more criminal, as the victim was his own 
father. These two were accordingly sentenced to the 
severest punishment short of death solitary imprison- 
ment for life in heavy chains, involving civil death 
and previous public exposure. 

Frederick Kleinschrot was considered as accessory 
in the first degree, and was sentenced to imprisonment 
for fifteen years. 

* Art. 60, Part I., Strafgesetzbuch.' 


The mother, Barbara Kleinschrot, as accessory in 
the second degree and with extenuating circum- 
stances, was sentenced to only eight years' imprison- 
ment in the house of correction. 

The elder daughter, Margaret, would have been 
considered as accessory in the third degree* had the 
evidence against her been clear ; but both she and her 
younger sister Cunigunda, who appeared to be of 
very weak intellect, were acquitted for want of evi- 

Anna Wagner pleaded in her justification that 
she had acted in obedience to her husband. By the 
Bavarian code,f a person who knows that a crime is 
about to be committed and does nothing to prevent it, 
which he may do without thereby exposing himself 
to danger, becomes accessory in the third degree, and 
liable to imprisonment in the house of correction of 
from one to three years' duration. 

This was precisely Anna Wagner's predicament; 
and in consideration of her confession which pro- 
duced the discovery of this long-concealed murder, 
the court sentenced her to the smallest amount of 
punishment, one year's imprisonment in the house of 

The sentences against Wagner and Conrad were 
sent for confirmation to the central court of Bavaria ; 
the others were only to be sent in case of their being 
appealed against. 

When Frederick Kleinschrot heard the sentence 
pronounced on him, on the 12th August, he was vio- 
lently agitated. " I cannot bear my sentence, but 
will appeal against it. I can never endure the punish- 
* Art. 78, No. 2, ' Strafgesetzbuch.' f Ibid. 


ment awarded me, and would much prefer death to 
fifteen years' imprisonment in the house of correc- 
tion. Neither am I convinced that it is just to con- 
demn me to so severe a punishment on account of a 
man who was so wicked as my father. As long as 
my father lived my home was a cruel prison, and if 
I am to live fifteen years more in another, I would 
rather die." 

His mother also at first declared that she would 
appeal, but eventually they both submitted to their 

Frederick afterwards said, "What determines me 
not to appeal is, that I shall thus be freed from the 
misery of suspense, and that I have some hope of being 
released from prison when I shall have proved by my 
conduct that I am only erring and not corrupt." 

On the 16th November the supreme court confirmed 
the sentence on Wagner and Conrad. They were both 
exposed in the pillory with placards on their breasts 
and the irons in which they were to die riveted upon 
them. They were then led to their solitary cells. 

In the pillory Conrad's demeanour was as might 
have been expected from him : conscious of his guilt, 
he endured his punishment in silence, with his head 
sunk on his breast. Wagner, on the contrary, gazed 
upon the assembled multitude with an air of im- 
pudent defiance, and once even held up the placard 
which proclaimed his infamy, as if to show it to the 
crowd more plainly. 



CONRAD EICHMULLER, of Lenzenberg, a day-labourer 
seventy-one years old, and feeble with age, had been 
employed for about a week on a hill in the forest 
near Hersbruck, in digging and cutting up stumps 
of trees. He always went to his work early in the 
morning, and returned home before dark, usually 
at five o'clock; but on the 7th of September, 1824, 
night began to close in, and he was not come back. 
His wife, a woman of sixty-two, became uneasy about 
him, and sent her son by a former marriage, a young 
man called Lahner, with some other youths, to look 
after him. They soon returned with the news that 
the old man was lying dead in the forest, and took 
with them some men, and a cart to fetch the body. 

Eichmuller was found about three feet from the 
stump at which he had been working, and in which 
three wedges were still sticking ; he was lying with his 
face towards the ground ; his skull shattered, and both 
feet chopped off; the left foot still adhered to the body 
by the boot, but the right lay under a tree at a 
distance of four or five feet ; traces of blood clearly 
showed that he had been dragged from the spot where 
he was at work, after he had been killed and his feet 


had been chopped off: his jacket and his two axes 
were scattered about, and one of the latter was stained 
with blood in a manner which left no doubt that it 
had been used in the murder and mutilation of the 
unfortunate old man. The wife had charged her son 
to take possession of the money which her husband 
had in his pocket, amounting to about two florins, but 
on searching the body nothing was found upon it save 
one button in the breeches pocket. 

The deed was no sooner made public than the mur- 
derer was known and brought before the tribunal at 

On the 7th of September (the day of the murder), 
Paul Deuerlein, a day-labourer, was driving a cartload 
of grain from Reichenschwand to Hersbruck, and at 
about five o'clock in the afternoon he overtook young 
Sorgel on the road, and called out to him, " Where 
do you come from? the Hansgorgle, eh?" Sorgel 
replied, pointing to the hill, " A year ago some one 
buried my blood up there ; I went to look for it last 
year, but it had not curdled then, and he who had 
buried it flogged me soundly. To-day I went up there 
again to look after my blood, and he who buried it 
was there again, and had horns, but I hit him on 
the head with the hatchet, chopped off his feet, .and 
drank his blood." Deuerlein, who knew that Sorgel 
was foolish at times, took no heed of what he said ; 
meanwhile they came to Hersbruck, where Sergei's 
father was waiting for him at the door of the poor- 
house, into which he and his family had been re- 

Sorgel came quietly along with Deuerlein, who told 
the father, in the presence of a blind man called Albert 


Gassner, what his son had been saying. The father 
scolded his son for talking such nonsense ; but he re- 
plied, " Yes, father, it is quite true that I knocked a 
man on the head, and chopped off his feet ; I killed 
him in order to drink a felon's blood ; and the man had 
horns upon his head." Gassner followed Sorgel into 
his room, where he added, " I also took from him a 
purse of money, but I threw it away again, for I will 
never keep what is not mine." Gassner said, jesting, 
" Oh, you kept the money, to be sure ;" whereupon 
Sorgel was angry, and said, " Hold your tongue, or 
I will strike you dead." 

About an hour later Sorgel went into the barn of 
the inn next door to the poorhouse, laughing heartily, 
and said to Katharine Gassner, " Now I am well 
again ; I have given it to some one soundly ; I hit 
him on the head, and chopped off both his feet, and 
one of them I threw away." Katharine was frightened 
at this speech, especially as she perceived blood upon 
his face : when she asked him how it got there, he 
answered, " I drank a felon's blood ;" and he went 
on to tell her that the man was sitting on the ground 
filling a pipe, and that he (Sorgel) took up the man's 
hatchet, which lay beside him, struck him with it 
on the head, and took two florins which he had upon 

In the evening he told Katharine Gb'tz, the daughter 
of the sick-nurse in the poorhouse, that he had come 
upon a woodcutter who was digging up stumps in the 
forest, and that at first he had helped him at his work, 
but that the man then appeared to him to have horns, 
whereupon he took up the hatchet and hit him on 
the head, that the man groaned very much, and 


he then chopped off both his feet, and drank his 

Old Sb'rgel, who looked upon his son's story as a 
symptom of returning insanity, to attacks of which 
his son was subject, chained him to his bed by way 
of precaution. The son bore it quietly, ate his supper, 
and joined in prayer with the rest of the family as 
usual, and then lay down ; but towards morning he 
broke out in raving madness, stormed, and tugged at 
his chain, which he endeavoured to break. In this 
state he was found by the constables when they went 
to arrest and take him before the court, and they were 
accordingly forced to depart without him. Soon after, 
however, he became perfectly quiet, and his own father 
and another man took him before the court, unfet- 
tered, on the 8th of September. 

He was immediately examined in the presence of his 
father and his father's companion. On being ques- 
tioned, he stated that his name was John George Sb'rgel, 
that he was twenty years of age, a Protestant, the son 
of a day-labourer, born in the poorhouse at Hersbruck, 
unmarried, and without property, and that he had 
learned the trade of a knife-grinder and of a chimney- 
sweep. On being asked whether he had ever been in 
custody before, he replied, " Oh, no ; who would do 
any harm to me I am an angel." He then related 
the murder as follows : " I went yesterday with my 
father to the wood called the Hansgbrgle I left my 
father, and saw at a distance an old man digging up 
stumps of trees I did not know this man; but it 
seemed to me that my own blood was buried under 
the stump, and I formerly dreamed that my parents 
were shut up in that place, and that I must drink the 


blood of a felon. So I went up to the old man and 
struck him on the head with his hatchet, and chopped 
off both his feet. I then drank the blood out of his 
head, left him lying there, and went home." When 
asked what could induce him to commit such a deed, 
he said, " The thing is done and I cannot help it ; it 
was because I thought he was digging up my blood. 
Sorgel signed the protocol properly, but during the 
examination he stared about him wildly, showed great 
restlessness, and fidgeted with his feet and hands; more- 
over, he continually expressed a desire of becoming a 
soldier, and could only be kept in the room by the 
promise that his wishes should be complied with. 

On the same afternoon he was taken to Lenzenberg 
to see the body, which he approached without the 
slightest air of dismay, embarrassment, or remorse. 
When asked whether he recognised it, he said, " Yes, 
it is the same man whom I struck yesterday evening, 
he is dressed in the same clothes ; I chopped off his 
feet so that he might never be laid in chains again." 
During this scene he displayed the same bodily rest- 
lessness as he had done at his examination. He fre- 
quently laughed, and said that he was an angel, and 
that he had known very well that the old man was 
good for nothing. 

On the following day, 9th of September, the judges 
went into the prison of the accused to examine him 
again. When asked how he felt, he said, " My head 
is very full, and I have bad dreams ; among other 
things I dreamt that I must go up to the Hansgb'rgle ; 
where there is a clock which strikes verv loud." You 


told us yesterday that you had killed a man : how did 
you do that ? "I saw an old man digging up stumps 


in the Hansgorgle, and I went and sat down near 
him. I took up his hatchet, which lay beside him, 
and struck him with the back of it upon the head, so 
that he instantly fell down dead ; then I chopped off 
both his feet. He had an old wooden tobacco-pipe in 
his hand, which he dropped when I struck him ; I took 
the pipe, but threw it away directly. I also took his 
flint and steel, arid kept them" (these were found upon 
him by his father, and delivered to the court). Sorgel 
steadfastly denied having taken any money from the 
old man, or having confessed to any one that he had 
done so, nor was a single coin found upon him. Why 
then did you chop off the man's feet ? " In order that 
he might not be laid in chains." Why did you kill 
him ? "I struck him because I thought he was going 
to dig up my own blood." He then went on to say 
that a strange woman had once told him he must drink 
felon's blood to be cured of the falling sickness ; and 
he added that he had felt much better since he had 
drunk the old man's blood. I knew, said he, that it 
was forbidden to kill people, but I killed the man 
in order to be cured by his blood. It happened soon 
before five in the afternoon, and I first drank the blood 
from the man's head, and then dragged him to a little 
distance and cut off both his feet; the left foot re- 
mained attached to the boot, and the right foot I threw 
away." The blood-stained hatchet was then laid 
before him ; he looked at it attentively, and said at last, 
" Yes, that is the hatchet with which I struck the 
man and chopped off his feet." He also recognised 
the flint and steel which were shown him. The exa- 
mination concluded with the following questions and 
answers : Do you repent of what you have done ? 


" Why, he beat me soundly last year, and that is why 
he did nothing to me when I hit him on the head." 
On what occasion did the man beat you last year? 
" I went to the woods once before to catch birds, and 
he beat me then." 

On the 15th of September the court was informed 
that Sb'rgel had been perfectly quiet for several days, 
and that he talked coherently, without any mixture of 
foolish fancies. The judges hereupon repaired to his 
prison in order to avail themselves of this interval of 
reason for an examination. His appearance and man- 
ner were totally changed ; when the authorities came 
in he took off his cap, and greeted them civilly, which 
he had never done before, at the same time addressing 
the judge by name. On being asked, he said he had felt 
much better ever since he had been bled by order of 
the physician. That before that he had not been at all 
well, that his head had been dizzy and full of strange 
fancies, and that he had dreamt all manner of nonsense. 
He was then asked if he knew the cause of his arrest. 
" My father," said he, " who generally watches beside 
me at night, told me that I ran away from him 
in the Hansgb'rgle and killed a woodcutter, so I sup- 
pose that is why I am in prison." Did he remember 
going to the Hansgb'rgle with his father. " No ; I 
should know nothing of the matter had not my father 
told me about it the other day. I know nothing at all 
of having killed a man ; and if I did so, it must have 
been the will of God who led me thither.'' He \vas 
then reminded that he had himself twice told the court 
that he had killed a woodcutter with his own hatchet. 
" I remember," said he, " that you were here in my 
prison, and that somebody wrote at yonder table, but 


I know nothing of having confessed that I killed a 
man." He as positively denied any recollection of 
having had a dead man with his legs chopped off 
shown to him, or that a bloody hatchet and a flint and 
steel had been laid before him, both of which he re- 
cognised. Nevertheless, he knew that he had been 
imprisoned for about ten days, and that it was Satur- 
day. He admitted having heard, as he added, from 
his mother, who had heard it from some one else, that 
the blood of a felon was a cure for the falling sickness, 
but observed that the man he killed was no felon, but 
rather that he himself must be one. Still he main- 
tained that he never remembered drinking human 
blood or killing the woodcutter. " Every one tells 
me that I did so," said he, " and therefore I am bound 
to believe it, but I must have been out of my mind at 
the time." During the whole examination his de- 
meanour was quiet and collected, he spoke coherently, 
and without any confusion of ideas, and his look was 
open and unembarrassed. 

The next examination was deferred until the 28th 
September, but nothing new was elicited. Sorgel 
still answered every question by declaring that he 
knew absolutely nothing of all that he had formerly 
related to the court and to other persons. The flint 
and steel were shown to him, but he denied all know- 
ledge of them, or of how they had come into his pos- 
session. The axe was likewise laid before him, but 
he said " I don't know it." The court remarked that 
during the whole examination the prisoner behaved 
with composure and propriety, was perfectly easy and 
unconstrained, and that his countenance was open and 


It is evident that the utter ignorance of all he 
had done, which Sb'rgel professed during the exami- 
nations of the 15th and 28th August, was not affected. 
Falsehood is never so perfectly consistent as were his 
declarations in the two last examinations, nor can dis- 
simulation ever appear so frank and unconstrained as 
the demeanour of this young man, who was, moreover, 
described by all who knew him as a simple, kind- 
hearted, pious lad when in his right senses. At both 
the two last examinations he showed himself perfectly 
sane, whereas if he had had any reason for wishing to 
deceive the judge, nothing would have been easier for 
him than to continue playing the part of a madman. 
If his ignorance at the two last examinations was 
affected, his former madness must necessarily have 
been equally false, a supposition which is contradicted 
by all the evidence. None but a Garrick could have 
acted madness with such fearful truth and nature. 
Nor was a murderer at all likely first to confess his 
crime in the assumed character of a madman, and 
then to affect forgetfulness of the past upon pretending 
to recover reason. If, again, he were really mad when 
he committed the crime, when he related it and when 
he recognised the corpse and the blood-stained axe, he 
could have no conceivable motive for acting forgetful- 
ness of deeds committed and words uttered during a 
paroxysm of insanity. 

His behaviour in court on the 3rd November, when 
his advocate's defence was read to him, confirmed the 
truth of his statement. His advocate pleaded for an 
acquittal on the ground that he was not accountable 
for his actions. During the reading of this paper 
Sorgel's manner was unconstrained and almost indif- 



ferent : he listened to it attentively, but without the 
slightest emotion. On being asked whether he was 
satisfied with the defence, whether he had any- 
thing to add, and if so, what ? he answered, " I have 
nothing to add, and what yonder gentleman has 
written is quite to my mind. As I have often said, I 
know nothing about killing any man, and if I did so, 
it must have been while I did not know what I was 
about. If I had been in my right mind, as I am now, 
I certainly should not have harmed any one." To 
the inquiry how he felt, he replied, " Very well, but 
a few days ago my keeper tells me I was very crazy 
again and talked all manner of nonsense, but I do not 
know a word of the matter." 

As yet we have confined ourselves merely to Sergei's 
murder and trial, but in order to understand his state 
of mind and the event to which it gave rise, we must 
examine his previous history, as collected from the 
evidence of his parents and other persons who ob- 
served him shortly before the trial. 

John George Sorgel was the son of a very poor 
day-labourer who lived in the poorhouse at Hers- 
bruck. He received a proper school education, by 
which he profited very well : he was fond of reading 
and wrote a fair legible hand. From his earliest 
youth he was always very industrious, helping his 
father in his work to the utmost of his power, civil 
and gentle towards every one, and very piously in- 
clined. His leisure hours were occupied in reading 
religious books, especially the Bible, in which he 
was well versed : his mind thus became filled with 
vague images of angels, devils, hell, heaven, divine 
revelations, and the like, mixed up with a large stock 


of vulgar superstition. These images formed the 
basis of the world of dreams into which he was 
thrown by madness. In the year 1820 he was ap- 
prenticed to a chimney-sweeper. His master gave 
the highest testimony to his industry, good-will, atten- 
tion, and morals ; but at the end of a year he was com- 
pelled to leave his work owing to a violent attack of 
epilepsy, which forced his master to release him from 
his apprenticeship and to send him home. From that 
time he remained subject to that disease in its most 
virulent form: he not unfrequently had several fits 
during the day, once even as many as eight. These 
constant fits weakened his understanding without in 
the least blunting his imagination,, and he fell into 
a state of morbid melancholy, arising partly from 
bodily infirmity and partly from the thought that his 
illness kept him at home a burden to his family, and 
debarred him from the possibility of occupation or 

In the spring of 1823 the disorder of his mind 
broke out for the first time into positive madness. 
He lay in bed, ate nothing, stared at one corner of the 
room, spoke little, except at times when he poured 
out wild and incoherent speeches almost entirely upon 
religious subjects, saying that the Saviour had ap- 
peared to him and had talked and eaten with him, 
that his father and mother would go to heaven, where 
there was no water to drink, but only wine, and 
sweet things to eat. The constable, Andreas Lauter, 
who visited him during this attack, said, " Sorgel 
shouted, preached, and sang hymns without ceasing 
for twenty-four hours together. He told us that he 
had been with God and had talked to him. When I 



entered the room he called to his mother to withdraw, 
for that I was the devil : he was lying in bed at the 
time. I reminded him of it since, but he remem- 
bered nothing at all of the matter." In this condi- 
tion he remained, according to his mother's account, 
for a week ; according to his father's, for a month. He 
then recovered completely, talked rationally and co- 
herently, and went to work again as before, and for 
nearly a year he had no relapse ; but in the spring of 
1824 he had fresh attacks, which did not at first last 
long, but gradually increased in frequency and in 

"This spring," says Katharine Gassner, an eye- 
witness, " three young men of the town passed the 
poorhouse singing and hallooing on their way to 
foreign parts. This perhaps vexed young Sorgel, 
who stood at the gate and began as if he were preach- 
ing * I am the collier lad. . They go forth re- 
joicing, and I have the falling sickness, and am left 
behind in grief and sorrow.' He instantly became 
restless and uneasy, and we saw that some change was 
taking place in him. The wife of Gb'tz, the attendant 
on the sick, tried to quiet him and to persuade him to 
go back to his room, but he struck her twice on the 
face and went out upon the high road, where he walked 
up and down with a disturbed and angry air. At this 
moment a stranger came along the road, and Sorgel 
went up to him, knocked his hat off his head, struck 
him with his fist, and trampled the hat under foot. 
The stranger, surprised at this unexpected attack, was 
going to beat him, but his mother, Gb'tz's wife, and I, 
ran up and pacified him by explaining that the young 
man was out of his senses." Another witness gave 


the same account of this occurrence, with the addition 
that he said in a preaching tone, " I am a little hare ; 
I am the Lord Jesus, and make the grass to grow." 

In the course of the following night he secretly got 
out of the window and ran in his shirt to the church- 
yard of the neighbouring village. 

In the month of May he was working with his 
father in a hop-ground, when he suddenly began to 
thrust the iron bar with which holes are bored for the 
hop- poles violently into the ground, saying, " Now I 
am thrusting down into hell." He then ran home to 
his mother and told her that he would tie no more 
hops, as he was floating between heaven and earth. 
He then ran away to Scherau, a wilderness surrounded 
with fish-ponds : on his way he pulled off his boots 
and left them on a hill. At Scherau he jumped into 
a pond, pulled off his trowsers and stockings, and 
threw them into the water. At nine o'clock at night 
on the 14th May he came in his shirt to a farmer's 
house and shouted through the window, " Which way 
must I go to get upon earth again ?" The farmer's 
son came out and asked him who he was and what he 
was about, and he replied that he had run away from 
home because the earth gave way under his feet while 
he was binding hops. He repeated this answer next 
day before the magistrate at Altorf, to whom he was 
taken by the farmer's son, and who sent him home to 
his parents." 

For several months after this he was quite sane, 
but in the first week of September he exhibited the 
first symptoms of a fresh and far more terrible at- 
tack. " On the Wednesday preceding the murder," 
said Margaret Gb'tz, to whom Sorgel was secretly 


attached, " he complained of a great weight upon his 
heart, but did not seem at all wrong in his mind. 
On the Thursday, as I was sitting at my work in 
the court of the poorhouse, he said to me, ' Margaret, 
this weight is terrible ; I never felt anything like it 
before ; I think I must be going to die.' On Friday I 
observed that he talked wildly. He did not come and 
sit with me and the other women, but sat apart by 
himself; he stared wildly, laughed like a madman, 
and said he was going down into hell. His friend, 
the blind Albert Gassner, came in ; he seized him 
by the forehead, pulled open his eyelids, and said 
' Now you will see ;' and when Gassner said that he 
could not see now nor ever should, Sb'rgel replied, 
* Wait a bit ; I will take a knife and cut your eyes 
open, and then you will see ;' which frightened Gass- 
ner so that he ran away. On Saturday, 4th Septem- 
ber, he stayed nearly all day in my parents' room, 
where there was a soldier lying sick. He did not 
seem to like this, and frequently asked the soldier 
to get up and go away with him. I turned him out 
at the door several times, but he always returned, and 
once he gave me such a terrible look that I was quite 
frightened. On Sunday (5th) he told me that he 
had a hair in his mouth that reached down into his 
stomach, and begged me to pull it out. I was going 
to do so, but his mouth was so full of foam that I 
was frightened. He then went to the well and rinsed 


his mouth, saying all the time that he felt so ill he 
must be going to die. In the evening he lay upon 
the bench in my room and hung his head down 
backwards, which I forbid him several times, but he 
always did it again. On Monday afternoon he kept 


walking up and down in the passage, and at last 
threw himself violently upon his face, crying ' Kill 
me, kill me !' and in the evening he threw himself 
down in the same manner under a tree, so that his 
father had to carry him away." Katharine Gassner 
and Elizabeth Hecklin gave evidence to precisely the 
same effect. 

After his father had taken him home on Monday 
evening, he again tried to escape through the window, 
whereupon old Sb'rgel sent to the constable for a chain 
and padlock, and chained his son to the wall beside 
his bed, to which he quietly submitted. 

On Tuesday morning young Sb'rgel appeared per- 
fectly tranquil, and begged his father for God's sake 
to unfetter him. His request was complied with, and 
he. prayed and breakfasted with his parents. At last 
he proposed to his father to take a walk with him up 
the old hill, about three miles from Hersbruck, as it 
might divert his thoughts and do him good. His 
father consented and they set out together at about 
eight o'clock. When they reached the very top of 
the mountain, young Sorgel jumped down a steep 
bank, broke through the thicket and disappeared. 
His father, seeing that it was impossible to follow 
him, went home, in order to prevent mischief there. 
What followed our readers already know. 

Nothing is more remarkable than that Sergei's 
confessions, which were made during his tits of mad- 
ness, should, with one single exception, tally so accu- 
rately in every point with the real facts of the case. 
His statement was as connected and as intelligible a 
one in every respect except the fantastic motives 
which he assigned for the deed, as could have been 


made by a perfectly sane man. The only one of his 
assertions which was contradicted by the evidence of 
others is this, that before the court Sorgel denied 
having taken, or having ever told any one that he 
had taken, the murdered man's purse. It was never- 
theless certain that the woodcutter had had two florins 
in his possession, and that this money must have been 
taken by Sorgel. This was proved by the declaration 
of the widow and her son, and by the confession made 
by Sorgel that very evening to the blind Gassner and 
to Catherine, both parties agreeing exactly as to the 
sum. It is, however, equally certain that Sorgel did 
not keep this money ; in all probability he took it in 
a fit of childish avidity, and afterwards threw it away 
as a useless or forbidden possession. 

The perfect unconcern with which Sorgel related 
the whole transaction, as if it were the most ordinary 
event, as well as several irrational expressions which 
he made use of in court, prove him to have been mad, 
not only when he committed the murder, but also 
when he underwent the first two examinations. The 
most remarkable light is thrown upon his condition 
by the change which took place in him when the fit 
of madness had passed away. With the madness 
every trace of the imaginary world which it had called 
into existence disappeared from his mind. His reco- 
very was like waking from a deep sleep, which left 
no impression but a vague sense of bad and frightful 
dreams. So long as his soul was darkened by mad- 
ness he was as perfectly conscious of his own fancies, 
motives, resolutions, and actions, as of the real exter- 
nal circumstances of the deed, and was able clearly to 
describe all that had passed. But these images, motives, 


and recollections vanished as soon as the spell of 
madness was broken, and he heard the account with 
as much surprise as he would have listened to the re- 
cital of the strange deeds of some unknown person. 
He knew only thus much of a period of several days, 
'* that his head was very confused, and that he dreamt 
all manner of nonsense." He did not even remember 
the substance of his dreams ; only one or two circum- 
stances remained in his memory; for instance, that 
the judge had visited him in prison, and that some 
one had written at the table. He was not aware 
either that he was himself the principal person con- 
cerned on that occasion, that the subject of the in- 
quiry was his own deed, or that he had confessed it. 

It is well known that in madness or delirium the 
patient often appears to himself to be a third person, or 
ascribes his own feelings and actions to some one else. 
Thus a fever patient begs his nurse to remove that 
troublesome guest out of his bed, pointing all the 
while to himself, or says that a friend sitting by his 
bedside has a violent pain in the side or is thirsty, 
and requests that something may be given him to 
drink ; while it is he himself who feels the pain and 
the thirst which he ascribes to another. This singular 
confusion of persons occurs twice in Sergei's madness, 
and proves its reality and the truth of his confession ; 
and also that the confession was made during the 
paroxysm of insanity, as in it he relates these delusions 
as positive facts. 

The first instance of this delusion was that which 
prompted him to drink the blood of the murdered 
man. After he had recovered his senses he was per- 
fectly well able to distinguish a felon from a murdered 


man. Thus his application of the vulgar superstition 
that the blood of an executed felon is a cure for the 
falling sickness, to the man he had himself killed, 
was no doubt entirely the result of this delusion. His 
imagination transferred to the person of the murdered 
man that which he knew himself to have become by 
the deed he had committed. 

We find exactly the same confusion in the motive 
which induced him to chop off the feet of the mur- 
dered man. He constantly asserted that he had done 
this in order to prevent their laying the old man in 
chains again. Now Sorgel had of late been frequently 
chained himself, and indeed had but just been re- 
leased from the chains in which he had lain all night, 
and possibly still felt the pressure of the rings upon 
his ankles ; and here again his disturbed imagination 
confounded his own feet with those of the dead man, 
and in order to secure himself .from the danger of 
being laid in chains in future, on the presumption 
that a man who has no feet cannot be chained by 
them, he chopped off both the feet of the dead wood- 

The physicians declared their opinion that Sorgel 
had committed the murder in a paroxysm of madness, 
when he was not accountable for his actions, and ac- 
cordingly the court, on the 23rd November, 1824, 
acquitted him of murder. 

For the safety of the community he was confined 
in the madhouse of Schwabach, where he died in the 
course of a few months. 




ABOUT two miles beyond Vilsbiburg, in the district of 
the Isar, on an eminence at two hundred paces from 
several mills, stands a solitary cottage called the Rasch- 
enhauschen. This belonged to a poor honest shoe- 
maker of about forty-two years of age, named James 
Huber, who lived there with his wife Elizabeth arid 
his three children Catherine, a girl of nine ; Michael, 
a boy of three ; and a baby of two months old. One 
half of the cottage, with a separate entrance, was let to 
a day-labourer called Maier, and his family. 

Maier returned from his day's labour with his wife 
at about half-past six in the evening of Maunday 
Thursday, 8th of April, 1819, and was surprised at the 
unusual quiet of his neighbour's cottage ; none of the 
shoemaker's family were to be seen or heard. Maier's 
sister-in-law, Maria Wieser, who had stayed at home 
all day, had seen the shoemaker's wife leave her house 
at about three and return home at six : she had heard 
her knock at the door and laugh aloud when it was 
opened to her, as if she was astonished at finding the 
door locked so early in the day, or as if some unex- 
pected guest had advanced to meet her as she crossed 


the threshold. Since that time Maria Wieser had 
seen nothing of the shoemaker's family. On the fol- 
lowing morning too the Hubers gave no token of their 
existence : no smoke came out of their chimney, the 
house-door remained closed ; nothing stirred within, 
and continued knocking and calling produced no 

At length, the daughter Catherine, with her face 
bloody and disfigured, looked out of the upper window, 
but was too much frightened to come down. After 
many earnest entreaties she at length opened the house- 
door. The first object that met the eyes o those who 
entered was the corpse of Elizabeth Huber bathed in 
blood. The body of little Michael was next found 
rolled up like a hedgehog between the lowest step of 
the stairs which led to the upper floor and a chest near 
them. The shoemaker's large iron hammer lay on 
the floor of the workshop, which was covered with 
blood, more especially all round the bench, which was 
upset: on the floor of the bed-room, near the bed, 
Huber was found lying dead with his face towards the 
ground. On the bed, near its father's dead body, the 
infant slept unhurt, though half-starved with cold. 
All the bodies were in their usual dresses, and the shoe- 
maker had on his leathern apron. 

As there were no traces of violence on the outside of 
the house which might lead to the supposition of house- 
breakers, the first impression was that the family might 
have done the deed themselves ; but the overturned 
stool, round which was a pool of blood, and the awl 
drawn half through some leather which lay upon the 
table these and several other circumstances clearly 


proved that the shoemaker must have been struck 
down suddenly while seated at his work, and after- 
wards dragged into the bed-room ; besides, the appear- 
ance of the upper rooms proved that a robbery had 
been committed there. Several closets had been 
broken open with some sharp instrument, their con- 
tents tossed about in great disorder, and a hatband and 
buckle, which was probably of silver, cut off the shoe- 
maker's hat. The first glance, therefore, proved be- 
yond doubt that this triple murder must have been 
committed by one or more robbers, who had either 
stolen into, the house during the day, or found some 
pretext for staying there openly. 

The following was the result of the post-mortem ex- 
amination of the bodies, which took place a few hours 
after the discovery of the murders. 

The corpse of Elizabeth Huber, a healthy woman of 
about six and thirty, bore no trace of injury except 
upon the head. Two deep triangular wounds, each 
three inches in diameter, which penetrated the skull, 
disfigured her swollen face one at the corner of the 
left eye, the other just above the left temple : the 
forehead and the bridge of the nose were likewise com- 
pletely crushed the heavy iron hammer found on the 
floor of the workshop exactly fitted the wounds. 

The corpse of James Huber also showed no traces 
of injury save about the head, the back of which was 
completely shattered. 

Neither the head nor the face of the boy Michael 
had any external wound, but were much swollen : the 
skull was as soft as dough : the frontal bone, the temple, 
and the occiput were broken into innumerable frag- 
ments ; the rest of the body was uninjured. 


The daughter Catherine was severely but not dan- 
gerously wounded. The left side of her face was 
swollen and covered with blood, and her eye closed 
up ; an oblique flesh wound, about an inch and a half 
in length, and a great deal of blood, appeared on the 
back of her head, and also a contusion on the left 

There could not be the slightest doubt as to the 
mortal nature of the injuries inflicted on the three dead 
bodies. The medical men were unanimous in their 
opinion that all three had been murdered with the 
shoemaker's hammer : this was of iron, weighing about 
two pounds, and the handle was a foot long. 

The strongest suspicion against the perpetrator arose 
simultaneously with its discovery. The daughter who 
had escaped gave the first link in the chain of evi- 
dence. She could riot, indeed, as yet be judicially ex- 
amined, as she was still suffering from fever, and was 
always either asleep or in a state of stupor ; mean- 
while, however, the neighbours and others extracted 
thus much from her, " that she had been struck down 
in the house by a man with a blue coat and a high 
hat ; that this man had frequently been at her father's 
house before ; that he had been there on the previous 
Thursday, and had sat for a long time with her father 
in his workshop." This information was confirmed 
by the statement of Maier's sister-in-law. She said 
that on Maunday Thursday, towards three o'clock in 
the afternoon, she had seen a young man answering to 
Catherine's description enter the shoemaker's house. 

Soon after, the miller's son, James S , went into 

the house, as she heard, to cut the shoemaker's hair. 
She had seen the young man, whose name was un- 


known to her, but who, as she had heard, lived with 
Schneevveisser, the carpenter, in the village of Soiling', 
some fourteen days before in the shoemaker's shop, 
where his boots were being mended : she had likewise 
heard from the children of the miller that at five o'clock 
in the evening of Maunday Thursday he was still at 
the shoemaker's cottage. The above-named miller's 

son, James S , related at his examination of the 

10th of April, " that at about three o'clock on the 8th 
of April he had, at the shoemaker's request, gone to him 
and had cut his hair ; besides the shoemaker, his wife 
and children, he had found a young man who he 
believed lived with Schneeweisser, the carpenter, at 
Soiling. The shoemaker begged the lad, who had 
already taken off his boot, to wait until his hair was 
cut, when he would serve him. The young man said 
nothing while witness was present, but stared wildly 
about him, and seemed rather drunk. He had seen 
the same man at the public-house (the Post) at Vilsbi- 
burg on the day when the murder was discovered : 
everybody there was talking about it : this lad only said 
nothing, but kept his eyes fixed upon high, and " I 
thought," said witness, " that as he took no part in the 
conversation, it must be disagreeable to him. I don't 
know what to make of him, but I can't help thinking 
that he must be the man, otherwise he would surely 
have lamented over such a misfortune, like every one 
else : he alone said nothing, although he had been 
with the shoemaker the day before." 

It was immediately discovered, from the accurate 
descriptions, that the unknown person could be no 
other than George Wachs, an apprentice of Schnee- 
weisser, the carpenter, at Soiling. He was arrested 


during the night of the 10th of April, and several sus- 
picious articles, particularly two silver hat-buckles, 
were found concealed in his trowsers. Early next 
morning (Easter Sunday), when the gaoler entered his 
cell, the accused came forwards of his own accord, and 
said, " I must own that I am the murderer of the 
shoemaker and his family : it is all over with me : I 
should have confessed to-day, and then have given 
myself up to justice." He was forced to make his 
Easter confession to the judge, instead of to his 

George Wachs, born of Catholic parents, at Soiling, 
in the circuit of Moosburg, on the 17th of April, 
1800, and, accordingly, only nineteen years of age 
when he committed this crime, was the son of a small 
farmer, who also worked as a day-labourer. His 
parents, who were both living when their only son was 
brought to trial, were generally described as very 
worthy people, who had sent him to school from his 
earliest youth, and had endeavoured to keep him 
straight by their advice and example. His moral 
conduct as a boy was not worse than that of others. On 
leaving school he was bound apprentice to a miller at 
Freising, who was perfectly satisfied with him, and who 
gave him his freedom after three years' service, on the 
7th of April, 1817. He then served as a miller's boy 
at several places in the district of the. Isar, everywhere 
earning a character for diligence and good conduct. 
But his eighteenth year was the turning point in his 
moral life. He was out of work from the 16th of 
August, 1818, and either stayed at home with his 
parents or wandered about the country seeking employ- 
ment, and working now and then as a day-labourer. 


In the following October, while working under a stone- 
mason at Moosburg, he stole from the wife of his em- 
ployer fifty florins (according to her account ninety- 
eight florins), and would have been delivered over to 
justice, had not his father perhaps unfortunately for 
him been induced for the sake of his own honour, as 
well as by affection for his son, to make full restitution. 
At length, on the 25th of December, 1818, he entered 
the service of the miller Ingerl, at Gerzen, who dis- 
missed him after three months. " I turned the fellow 
off," says Ingerl, " simply because his labour was not 
worth a farthing, and he was always running after 
women ; besides, he was a reckless, dissolute, riotous 
fellow, who had no regard for Christianity, and was 
disagreeable to me on account of his impudent and 
licentious conduct." This young man's immoderate 
taste for women fully accounts for the suddenness of 
the change in his moral nature. Wantonness made 
^ him riotous, disorderly, and lazy; love of women 
made him vain and fond of dress, and vanity made 
him rapacious, until he became first a thief, and then 
a murderer. 

After Ingerl, the miller, had dismissed him from his 
service, on the 17th of March, 1819, he all at once 
gave up his business, and bound himself apprentice to 
a master carpenter at Soiling, of the name of Schnee- 
weisser, in the hope of succeeding better in that line. 
But scarce had he been a fortnight in his new trade 
when he, who had till then been known merely as a 
wanton, jovial, reckless youth, proved, by a deed of 
which no one suspected him capable, the truth of the 
old saying, that there is no propensity, even one 
apparently harmless, which may not, when fostered 


by circumstances, grow into an irresistible passion, 
and hurry a man into the commission of monstrous 

With his master's leave, Wachs left home at eight 
o'clock in the morning of Maunday Thursday, the 8th 
of April, with the intention of making his Easter con- 
fession at Vilsbiburg. On his way he met Matthias 
Hingerl, a peasant's son, who was going to the same 
village to fetch his watch, which he had left to be 
mended at a watchmaker's, and which he wanted to 
wear during the approaching Easter festivities. 

George Wachs having unexpectedly found an agree- 
able companion, thought that any other day in the 
week would do as well for confessing, and spent the 
greater part of the morning at Vilsbiburg, not in 
church, but in the public-houses, drinking beer and 
talking, chiefly about women and his own adventures. 
Hingerl showed him his watch, which he had fetched 
from the watchmaker ; and although George Wachs 
said nothing at the time, we may infer from what 
subsequently happened, that the sight of this enviable 
possession painfully recalled to his recollection that, 
although he certainly had good clothes for the next 
Easter Sunday, he was still without a watch. 

At about noon they both went merrily towards 
home, but stopped by the way at a village, where they 
drank three quarts more of beer, and then continued 
their journey. George Wachs, who, as well as his 
companion, had druhk a good deal, but not enough 
to affect his senses, was exceedingly merry and noisy, 
sung and rolled his hat along before him, ran after it, 
and played all manner of childish tricks. After ac- 
companying Hingerl about two miles farther, he took 


leave of him, and said that he was going to turn back, 
but did not say whither he was going or what he 
wanted. Hingerl had, however, previously remarked 
that Wachs walked lame, and on asking the reason, 
Wachs told him that he had cut his foot with a hatchet, 
and must have his boot mended before Easter 

With this object only, so at least the accused declared 
on every examination, he turned back and went to the 
shoemaker's house, which he reached at about three, 
and where he found the shoemaker's wife and children, 
and some girls from the neighbouring mill. Before 

long, James S came in and cut the shoemaker's 

hair, after which he went away again. It was not till 
then that the shoemaker set to work upon Wachs' boot; 
Wachs meanwhile played with the children, and took 
particular notice of little Michael, to whom he gave a 
carnival-cake. After his boot had been mended, and 
he had stayed some time with the shoemaker, he wished, 
according to his own account at least, to go away at 
about four o'clock, and asked the shoemaker whether 
his clock was right? whereupon the latter told him 
that it was too slow by a quarter of an hour, and de- 
sired his wife to fetch him his silver watch from up- 
stairs that he might wind it up. After bringing the 
\\atch to her husband, who wound it up, and hung it 
upon a nail in the wall beside him, she left the house 
and went to Soiling to buy fish for the next day. The 
children also went out to play in the garden with their 
companions, and George Wachs was left alone with 
the shoemaker in the workshop. Wachs asserted that 
he would have gone away with the wife, had not the 
shoemaker detained him, saying, " Stop a bit longer ; 



you cannot do much more to-day, and I shall be dull 
all by myself." 

The wife was very unwilling to leave the stranger 
alone with her husband. At Soiling, she told Mary 

Z , that " Schneeweisser's apprentice had already 

been three hours at her house ; that the young man 
was drunk, and that she disliked his way of talking, 
which was so strange that it made her laugh at one 
moment, and frightened her the next." A fortnight 
before this, Wachs had been at the shoemaker's on a 
Sunday morning to have his boots mended, and she 
now said to Mary Wiesers, " That fellow is at my 
house whom I dislike for coming during church time 
I cannot bear him." This foreboding was soon 
terribly fulfilled on her husband, her children, and 

" When the woman was gone" these are the cri- 
minal's own words " we talked over a variety of in- 
different matters, and for a long while no evil thought 
crossed my mind, although the watch was hanging 
before my eyes the whole time. All at once it struck 
me how beautiful the watch was. I took it from the 
wall, examined it closely, opened it, and asked the 
shoemaker how much it had cost. He told me that, 
with a silver chain and seal, the watch had cost fourteen 
florins, but that the chain was up-stairs in the cup- 
board, as he only wore it on holidays, when I should 
be able to see it. I remarked that I had a mind to 
buy them, if I could ever get together enough money, 
and he appeared quite willing to sell them. I could 
not get the watch out of my head : I walked up and 
down the room with my eyes fixed upon it, and the 
thought struck me that I would run off with it as soon 


as the shoemaker had left the room. But he never 
stirred from his seat, and continued hard at work upon 
the upper-leathers of a pair of shoes. The desire for 
the watch grew upon me every moment, and as I 
walked up and down the room, I turned over in my 
own mind how I could get possession of it ; and as the 
shoemaker still sat at his work, it suddenly came across 
me suppose I were to kill him ? There lay the ham- 
mer : I took it up before the shoemaker's face and pre- 
tended to play with it ; but I did not hit him directly, 
because I kept thinking to myself that I ought not to 
kill him. I walked up and down behind his back for 
some minutes with the hammer in my hand, but still 
in doubt. Then my longing after the watch gained 
the upper hand, and I said to myself, Now is the time, 
otherwise the wife will be here too ! And just as the 
shoemaker was most busily at work, I raised the ham- 
mer and struck him with it as hard as I could on the 
left temple : he fell from his seat covered with blood, 
and never moved or uttered a sound. I felt sure 
that I could kill him with one blow. I should think 
that a quarter of an hour must have elapsed while I 
went up and down the room thinking how I could 
get the watch : at length I struck the blow, and this 
was my last and worst thought." 

" It must have been in an unlucky hour that the 
desire for the watch took so strong a hold of me. I 
had never thought about it before ; nor should I 
have entered the shoemaker's house, but for my torn 

" As soon as the shoemaker was down, I put the 
watch into my pocket and went up-stairs to look for 
the chain. The key was in the door of the closet in 


the upper bed-room ; and as I thought that they were 
sure to keep their best things there, I looked in it for 
the chain, which I did not find ; but there were two 
sheep-skins, which I took. Just as I was going down 
stairs with the sheep-skins, I saw two other closets on 
the landing ; I therefore turned back and broke them 
open with a hoe : thinking that perhaps I should now 
find the chain which belonged to the watch, I turned 
everything over, but did not find the chain ; however 
I did find six florins in half-florin pieces, thirty 
kreutzers, and a silver hat-buckle. In the same place 
also was a hat with a silver filigree buckle, which I 
cut off, and put in my pocket." (He then enumerated 
all the articles which he had found in the second 
closet, and which he had taken ; the value of all he 
stole, including the watch, which had cost nine florins, 
amounted to about thirty-three florins, or 2L 15s.) He 
then proceeded : " My chief object still was to find 
the silver chain, and it was only during my search 
for it that the other things fell in my way, and that I 
took them." 

" When I had got all these things, I returned to the 
workshop to take a piece of leather, and perceived that 
the shoemaker still breathed ; I therefore gave him a 
few more blows on the temple with the hammer, and 
then I thought that I had better remove him into the 
bed-chamber, so that his wife might not see him im- 
mediately upon entering the house. I accordingly 
dragged him out of the shop into the chamber near 
the bed." 

George Wachs had now attained his object, with 
the exception of the missing chain. There was 
nothing more to be got; but one crime leads to 


another. In this case the words of Macbeth proved 
but too true 

" Things bad begun, make strong themselves by ill." 

After dragging the murdered man into the chamber, 
and filling his own pockets with leather enough to 
make a pair of boots, in addition to the other articles, 
George Wachs was on the point of leaving the house 
when the two children met him at the door on their 
return from play. These children had seen him 
during nearly half the day, and knew him : if they 
remained alive, he was betrayed. There could be no 
doubt as to what his safety required: no choice was 
left him : the thought and the deed were one. He 
seized the little boy, and dashed him upon the ground 
at the foot of the stairs with such violence, that the 
death-rattle was in his throat in a moment. He then 
flung Catherine with equal violence under the stairs 
among a mass of wood and iron ; but the girl, after 
lying stunned for a short time, got up again and en- 
deavoured to reach the inner room to seek protection 
from her father : the murderer then took up the ham- 
mer from the ground, struck the child with it about 
the face and head, and again threw her under the stairs 
among a heap of old wood and iron, where she lay 
motionless, and he concluded her to be dead. Little 
Michael, however, still breathed. " When 1 saw," con- 
tinued the murderer, " that I had thrown him with 
such violence that he could not survive, I gave him a 
few blows on the head with the hammer to put him 
out of his misery. I then threw him between the steps 
and an old chest, so that they might not find him 

This second business was now over ; but, before he 


was well aware of it, a bloody harvest had sprung up 
under his hands from the seeds he had sown. 

As soon as the children had shared their father's 
fate, he again prepared for flight, but first looked out 
at the window to see whether any one was near who 
might observe him. Just then a man drove by in 
a cart, and he was forced to wait until it was out of 
sight. At last he thought he might escape in safety, 
but on putting his head out at the door to see if any 
one was near, he beheld the shoemaker's wife returning 
from Soiling : she had already turned off the road into 
her garden, and was only a few steps from the house, 
which he could not leave without running directly into 
her hands. It was clear, then, that he must stay and 
murder her too, as he had already murdered her hus- 
band and children. " When I saw the woman coming, 
I said to myself, Now I cannot escape ; I am lost, and 
must kill her too. So I shut the door, seized the ham- 
mer, and held it with one hand hidden under my coat, 
while I opened the door with the other: the shoe- 
maker's wife entered laughing, and said, Why, you 
have locked yourselves in ! I made no answer. As 
soon as she entered the room she turned towards the 
chest which stood near the entrance, and which I had 
left open after my search for the chain. I stood be- 
hind her, nearest the door, and before she was aware 
of it I struck her such a heavy blow with the hammer 
on the left temple, that she instantly fell close to the 
chest, and only cried in a low voice, Jesus Maria ! 
I saw that she could not recover, and gave her 
several more blows as she lay on the floor, to 
put her out of her misery. I then dragged her 
on one side towards the inner room, so that people 


should not tread upon her as they entered the 

" I then went into the inner room, threw a napkin 
full of eggs, which the woman had brought, behind 
the grate, and the hammer on the ground, hastily 
took up the little baby which was lying on the bench, 
and laid it upon the bed in the back room for fear it 
should fall and be hurt. I then left the house in per- 
fect security, locked the front door, and went straight 
home to my master's house, where I arrived at about 
half-past six."* 

" The whole affair could not have lasted an hour. 
It was past five when I struck the shoemaker, and by 
six the wife was killed." 

" If it had not been for the watch-chain, I should 
not have got into all this trouble, and nobody would 
have been killed but the shoemaker. I never once 
thought of killing the wife and the children." 

That he was at the time in perfect possession of all 
his faculties, and not in a state of furious drunkenness, 
is proved by the nature of the crime itself, as well as 
by his own confession. " I felt a little the worse for 
liquor, but I knew all the while what I was about, 
otherwise I could never have done all I did. I cannot 
tell what possessed me, but I was very merry and 
joyous all that day." 

An eyewitness was present at the murder of the 
woman and of the little boy, upon whom the criminal 
had by no means reckoned this was the daughter 
Catherine, who gave her evidence before the court on 

* It is strange that all these murders left no mark of blood 
either on the clothes or the body of the murderer : there were only, 
as he says, a few spots on his boots, which he easily wiped away. 


the 30th of April, after she had sufficiently recovered 
from her injuries. It will be interesting to hear the 
most important part of the testimony given by this 
child, though legally an incompetent witness. After 
giving a detailed account of the arrival of the carpen- 
ter's apprentice at her father's house, her mother's de- 
parture for Soiling, and the children's going into the 
garden to play, she proceeded thus : " We children 
stayed out together a long time, and as we entered 
the house the carpenter's man came towards us and 
threw us against the stairs : my brother presently began 
to move, and the man hit him on the head with my 
father's hammer. I got up again and tried to get to 
the inner room to seek help from my father ; but the 
man caught hold of me, and struck me over my eye 
with the broad end of the hammer, and on the back 
of my head and shoulders with the sharp end, and 
threw me once more under the stairs. I did not 
dare to move again, and pretended to be dead. The 
man then went to the door and looked out, but came 
back in a minute and shut the door, and then I heard 
my mother call, Open the door ! The man let her in 
directly. I was still in a great fright, and lay as still 
as a mouse, arid all at once the man struck her such a 
blow upon the head with the hammer that she fell, 
and I only heard her cry out " Help ! " He then 
dragged my mother towards the inner room, and soon 
after went out of the door, which he shut after him." 

In all the subsequent examinations the accused ad- 
hered to his first confession, and only repeated his first 
statements, confirming them by additional details, so 
that a perfectly consistent account of the whole trans- 
action could be collected from his various confessions. 


On one point only the accused attempted to depart 
from his first confession, somewhat in his own favour. 
In the first general examination he confessed in so 
many words that he had assaulted the two children 
with intent to murder them. " I should have murdered 
only the shoemaker," said he, " had not the children 
come in just as I was about to leave the house ; and 
as they knew me, I was forced to kill them, lest they 
should betray me : the same thing happened with the 
shoemaker's wife." It was evidently from shame of 
his own inhumanity that he afterwards maintained 
that he wished only to stun the children so that 
they should not betray him, and that he afterwards 
killed the little boy out of pity, on seeing that he had 
hit him too hard. The deed itself, and the motive to 
it which he had so frequently declared, sufficiently 
refute this wretched prevarication. In order to pre- 
vent the children from betraying him, it would not 
suffice to stun them : the dead alone tell no tales. 

The truth of his assertion that he entered the shoe- 
maker's shop without any criminal intention, and that 
it was not until the watch was so temptingly exhibited 
before his eyes that the idea of murder entered his 
mind, seems somewhat doubtful. It certainly looks 
suspicious that the same man should have murdered 
another for the sake of his watch at five in the after- 
noon, who on the morning of the same day feasted 
his eyes on a watch in his comrade's possession. And 
as it appears by the indictment that he had seen the 
shoemaker's silver watch hanging in his workshop a 
fortnight before, it seems natural to conclude that the 
desire of possessing it was then excited, and subse- 
quently much increased by the sight of his comrade's 


watch. By this presumption we may also easily ac- 
count for his suddenly turning back on the road from 
Vilsbiburg, his unusually long stay at the shoemaker's 
house, and, lastly, for his wild looks and his strange 
way of talking. 

These conjectures, however, lose all their weight on 
closer examination. From first to last the criminal 
never seems to have acted upon any predetermined 
plan, but merely to have obeyed the inspiration 
of the moment, and to have yielded to the temptation 
of an opportunity created by the coincidence of 
several accidental circumstances. It is impossible 
to calculate chances, and least of all a chance made 
up of a variety of accidents. Whoever lays a scheme 
for some predetermined object, if he be not less than 
half-witted, will found it upon circumstances more or 
less within his control, and not upon events entirely 
beyond it, and merely dependent upon chance. The 
shoemaker's cottage, though lonely, was no hermit's 
cell. One half of it was inhabited by the day-labourer's 
family as well as by his own : the accused must also 
have known that the shoemaker was likely to be 
visited by a number of customers just before the 
Easter holidays. He could not have entertained the 
slightest expectation of finding Huber quite alone, or 
of remaining with him for hours undisturbed by the 
presence of a third person. When he entered Huber's 
workshop at about three in the afternoon, he could by 
no means have guessed that the wife would go to a 
distant village, or that both the children would 
leave the house and stop out at play above an hour. 
A man who goes with the deliberate intention to mur- 
der is sure to determine beforehand in what manner 


and with what instrument he will commit the crime. 
He does not trust to the chance that when he is 
on the spot luck will provide him with a knife, a 
dagger, a pistol, a hammer, or some other instrument 
of death. The prisoner's statement that he went to 
the shoemaker's house merely to get his boots mended 
was by no means a mere pretence. Matthias Hingerl, 
who accompanied him on his way to and from Vilsbi- 
burg, saw a hole in his boot, and heard him say 
that he must get it mended before Easter. Thus his 
return to the shoemaker's house has in it nothing 
suspicious. The long stay of a frivolous, lazy young 
man, willing to idle away his time, is nothing un- 
usual, especially when we consider that he had already 
passed the greater part of the day in idleness, drink- 
ing, gossip, and all sorts of follies, and would not feel 
disposed to spend the remainder of so glorious a 
holiday under the eye of his master, and perhaps 
even at work. The wild look which one witness 
(James, the miller's boy) says he observed in him 
from the first, is to be attributed rather to drink- 
ing and rioting, than to the effect of any wicked 
design in his mind ; not to mention that a peasant 
lad's judgment in physiognomy does not deserve 
implicit confidence. The antipathy which the shoe- 
maker's wife felt towards him had been shared by 
others long before he could possibly have had any 
thoughts of committing murder : indeed, the miller, 
Hingerl, dismissed him from his service for no 
other reason. George Wachs, by nature coarse, frivo- 
lous, and dissolute, and at that moment heated by 
drinking, brought the uncouth merriment in which 
he had indulged during his walk from Vilsbiburg 


with him into the shoemaker's house, where he gave 
a loose to his coarse nature in vulgar loquacity, and in 
foolish, wanton jokes. This conduct, especially on 
a sacred day, and in a person who had already 
wearied her by his long stay, must have been disgust- 
ing and frightful, rather than laughable, to a quiet, 
pious mother of a family. 

We may therefore accept his confession exactly as 
he gave it : all the circumstances agree so well with 
each other, and form so accurate a picture of the work- 
ings of his mind, that it would be next to impossible 
for a mere peasant to invent a statement so perfectly 
true to nature. 

The events of the forenoon had already rilled his 
imagination with the idea of a watch. Hingerl 
had gone to Vilsbiburg on purpose to fetch home his 
watch from the watchmaker's, and George Wachs had 
to wait at the public-house while his companion trans- 
acted this business. When Hingerl rejoined Wachs 
he naturally talked about the watch, the possession of 
which gave him double pleasure now that it had been 
mended and was to go particularly well. In order to 
make his companion share his pleasure, Hingerl took 
the watch out of his pocket and allowed him to 
examine it, boasting of its excellence all the while. 
George Wachs said nothing, but it was impossible 
that so vain a young man should not envy his more 
fortunate companion, and long for the possession of a 
similar treasure. Thus, without any guilty thoughts 
or criminal intentions, George Wachs was prepared, 
by what he had seen, heard, and felt that morning, 
for the temptation which afterwards met him in the 
shoemaker's house. An unhappy chance placed before 


the eyes of one whose thoughts and wishes had on that 
very morning been directed towards a watch, just 
such another, and the tempter, opportunity, stood 
by. This second watch was not merely shown to him 
and then returned to its case, but was hung against the 
wall, where it continued to excite his desires : he could 
not avoid seeing it, and the longer he looked the more 
inviting did it appear. A silver chain and seal like- 
wise belonged to this watch, which the shoemaker told 

O * 

him were so fine that he only wore them on holidays. 
This watch, with its fine chain, was far better than 
that which he had coveted in his companion's posses- 
sion. To be the owner of such a treasure, to appear 
before the women thus adorned, to outshine all his 
companions, was indeed a tempting vision for a vain 
lad of nineteen ; and in this vision he indulged until 
liking became longing, and longing ungovernable 
passion. For a time his yet undefined wishes hovered 
round their object ; he took down the watch from the 
wall, examined it more closely, and talked of buying 
it. But when the shoemaker agreed to sell him the 
watch, thus placing it at his disposal, fresh fuel was 
added to the flames which burned within him. 
Nothing now intruded itself between his desires and 
their object but the want of a small sum of money, 
which he did not possess and could not hope soon to 
obtain. But was the most intense passion of his heart, 
the object on which his mind was fixed, and which 
he already fancied his own, to be resigned for such 
a trifle ? The passions always choose the shortest path. 
There hung the watch before his eyes; he had but 
to stretch out his arm and it was his : no one was 
there to prevent him but the shoemaker, who must 


quit the room or die. Thus the choice lay between 
theft and murder ; the former, indeed^ rather than the 
latter, but he was equally prepared for the one or the 
other, according to opportunity and circumstances. 

The most striking feature in this case is the 
fearful spectacle of a sudden passion, which seized on 
his imagination like a whirlwind and hurried him on 
to perdition. The blinding, maddening influence of 
the passions was exhibited in a remarkable manner in 
his conduct. All his thoughts, wishes, and actions, 
considered as means for accomplishing his ends, were 
so foolish and senseless, that we might call them 
childish but for their extreme cruelty. He was so com- 
pletely wrapped up in the object of his desires as not 
to perceive objections which could scarce escape the 
observation of an ordinary child. He first waited for 
the momentary absence of the shoemaker in order to 
seize the watch and run off with it, which would have 
been much the same thing as to take it before the 
very eyes of its owner : the thief would have been as 
certainly known in the first as in the latter case. But 
this youth was exactly like the stupid savage, who, 
incapable of resisting a sudden impulse, runs away 
witli a string of beads before the very faces of 
the ship's company, and hides behind a tree, where 
he thinks himself and his booty safe so long as he 
does not see those by whom he is seen. The 
murder which George Wachs planned in case the 
shoemaker should not leave the room, was quite as ill- 
contrived. None but a man blinded by passion could 
avoid seeing that detection was as certain as the 
murder was easy. He was well known to the family, 
and indeed to the whole neighbourhood : the miller's 


lad James had met him at the house, and the shoe- 
maker's wife and children had left him alone with his 
victim, and must therefore, immediately upon disco- 
vering the murder, have fixed upon him as the mur- 
derer. Nothing but the most reckless and blind 
rapacity, incapable of forethought and reflection, 
would have perceived the mere physical possibility 
of the deed and overlooked its real impracticability, 
and the certainty of immediate detection. 

A strange contrast to the heat of his desires is pre- 
sented by the coolness and presence of mind with 
which this youth of nineteen, who probably found 
himself for the first time exposed to such temptation, 
conceived, determined on, and performed so frightful 
a deed. No sooner had it occurred to him to take 
advantage of the shoemaker's absence in order to ob- 
tain possession of the watch, or should he not leave 
the room to murder him, than he was fully prepared 
with a plan which cost him not a pang to conceive 
and determine. The very hired murderers sent by 
Richard to kill Clarence in the Tower shrink back on 
beholding their victim, and one of them says, " Faith, 
some dregs of conscience are yet within me." They 
feel within them " that dangerous thing which makes 
a man a coward ; a man cannot steal but it accuseth 
him 'Tis a blushing shame-faced spirit that mu- 
tinies in a man's bosom ; it fills one full of obstacles."* 
But George Wachs, though a mere novice in crime, 
does not appear from his own account to have felt 
any such " dregs of conscience," or any such " mutiny 
in his bosom." His continual walking up and down 
betrayed, it is true, some inward uneasiness; but 
* King Richard III., Act I. Scene 4. 



this seems to have been caused by nothing but the 
mixture of hope and fear, the impatience of desire, and 
anxiety as to the success or failure of his plan. He 
felt no distress, no hesitation at the thought that he 
could only gain possession of a miserable watch by 
destroying a poor father of a family, who had never 
injured him, and with whom he was at that moment 
engaged in friendly conversation. It is true that he 
delayed for a while committing the murder, in the 
expectation that the shoemaker would quit his work 
for a moment and leave the room, and in this delay 
a certain amount of humane feeling may have had as 
large a share as the very natural dislike of adopting 
the more troublesome and dangerous mode of proceed- 
ing, so long as an easier road to his wishes was open 
to him. The choice between theft and murder by no 
means depended on his original resolution, for he was 
equally prepared for either alternative, but simply on 
the accidental turn of circumstances. On being asked 
at the final examination how he could murder the shoe- 
maker for a watch of trifling value, when he must have 
known that such a crime would be punished with the 
utmost rigour, he answered, " I certainly did think 
of it, but I don't know what came over me. I felt all 
at once the strongest desire for the watch, and in- 
stantly determined to kill the shoemaker. The watch 
I must have, and the only question was what to do 
next : upon this I struck him. The longing after the 
watch was too strong for me; I struggled all along 
against my desires, for I knew very well that it was 
wrong to kill any one for such a cause." However 
ready we may be to believe that he was aware 
that murder, especially such a murder as this, was a 


crime deserving heavy punishment, we much doubt 
whether this knowledge involved him in any contest 
between his conscience and his desires. Deep as is 
the insight given us by the prisoner into the secret 
origin of crime by repeated and connected statements, 
we find no circumstance which might induce us to 
believe that his determination and its execution cost 
him any particular effort or qualm of conscience. He 
speaks only of the beginning of his desire, its growth, 
and final mastery over him. Throughout all these 
bloody thoughts and deeds, the prisoner retained 
such perfect coolness and self-possession, that he was 
able not only to describe the whole tragedy, but 
even the workings of his own mind, as accurately 
as could have been done by a dispassionate observer 
able to look into his soul. Men whose natures have 
even a moderate share of the milk of human kindness, 
can seldom bear to look upon a horrid deed so closely : 
before they can think of it with composure, they must 
blunt or deceive their natural feelings, unless indeed 
the struggle between desire and loathing hurries them 
on to that desperate fury which they are ready to say 
with Macbeth, 

" Let that be 
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see."* 

But George Wachs was not so chicken-hearted as to 
flinch before any terrors of the imagination ; he was 
so strong in purpose, that he needed no assistance save 
that of his own good clear understanding, which 
served him admirably, so far as pointing out the 
shortest means to a given end. With deliberate 
cunning he took up the heavy iron hammer before 

* Macbeth, Act I. Scene 5. 



the eyes of the shoemaker, tossed it to and fro in his 
hands as if in play, stood a step or two behind his 
victim, and "as he had heard that the most certain 
way was to hit a man on the temple," he aimed 
directly at that place, which he struck with such a 
firm and unerring hand, that the murdered man in- 
stantly fell without speech or motion at his feet. 

His cool rapacity led him at once to his real 
object, unmoved by the bloody sight before him : he 
first seized upon the watch, and then sought for the 
chain in every part of the house ; he broke open 
and ransacked every chest and cupboard, took 
whatever could possibly be of use to him money, 
clothes, silver buckles, even a piece of leather for 
boots, and concealed them in his pockets. Such 
was his coolness, that he returned once more to the 
workshop before quitting the house : such his cruelty, 
that he completely shattered the head of his victim, 
who still lay in the death-struggle : such his deliberate, 
but useless prudence, that he dragged the dead man 
into the inner room out of sight. 

The other three murders (for the attempt upon the 
girl was a murder in intention) were necessary con- 
sequences of the first, and were considered by the 
criminal as they really were merely supplementary, 
and forced upon him by an unlucky accident. The 
shoemaker he sacrificed to his rapacity, the wife and 
children to self-preservation. A man more accessible 
to human weakness, if he did the deed at all, would 
have done it with all the signs of one driven by the 
pressure of cruel necessity to a state bordering on 
madness. But Wachs, whom nothing could disturb, 
nothing unman, saw as soon as the children appeared 


before him what he must do, and his determination 
was as quick as thought itself. He murdered the chil- 
dren without the slightest remorse, and exhibited in 
the whole transaction a cruelty and hardness of heart 
only equalled by his coolness and deliberation. 

The poor mother was the next to fall. 

This last action was a mere repetition of the second 
and third ; only as it was a grown up and vigorous 
person with whom he had to deal, the murderer dis- 
played in the execution of his sudden determination as 
much cunning as cruelty. No sooner did he see her 
approach, than he resolved how to act. He instantly 
shut the door, armed himself once more with the 
bloody hammer, concealed the hand which grasped 
it, and then opened the door, which he shut upon 
her as she entered the house with a jest on her 
lips : the moment she turned her eyes from him, he 
aimed at the well-known weak place in her head, 
and at one blow shattered it with the hammer which 
was already stained with the blood of her husband and 
her children. 

After murdering the father, mother, and children, 
Wachs ended this horrid tragedy by carefully carrying 
the infant of the murdered woman into the chamber, 
and laying it upon the bed. We can scarcely con- 
sider this action as the result of any humane impulse, 
but rather as a fresh proof of the remarkable coolness 
and self-possession manifested throughout by the mur- 
derer. No particular sensibility is required to induce 
a man to remove an infant from a place where it is in 
danger of falling, especially if this can be done with 
very little trouble. When Wachs, just before quit- 
ting the house, rendered this small service to the 


child, whose life could not injure and whose death 
could not serve him, he merely proved that, in the 
midst of murder and death, he preserved such per- 
fect composure as to be able to give his attention to 
a matter of comparatively trifling importance, and to 
pass at once from the most horrible deeds to a per- 
fectly indifferent and common-place action. 

These several murders, which, strangely enough, 
left no stain on the clothes or person of the murderer, 
seem to have left as little trace upon his mind, 
except a perfectly indifferent recollection of the cir- 
cumstances. After shutting the door of the house of 
death behind him, he went home with his pockets 
full of plunder, and at about half-past six presented 
himself before his master, gave his master's children 
some apples, and told him with great glee what a 
happy day he had spent, and how his companion, 
young Hingerl, had got so drunk that he could neither 
stand nor walk. He appeared so cheerful and so per- 
fectly at his ease during the whole of that evening, 
which he passed with his master and mistress until 
bed-time, that the former expressed in court his won- 
der how so young a man could do such deeds, or, 
when he had done them, behave in such a manner. 
On the following evening, when his master and mis- 
tress were talking over the dreadful occurrence at the 
shoemaker's, Wachs coolly remarked, " that on the 
day before the murders he had been at the house, and 
had stayed there some time, while his boots were 
being mended : he should therefore certainly have to 
appear before the court, and perhaps people might even 
think he had done it." He behaved with equal com- 
posure on the Saturday, when he met some woman 


with whom he associated, to whom he gave the watch, 
in order that she might get a glass fitted to it. He 
told her that his father had given him the watch, 
and talked with great animation about several in- 
different matters. When she mentioned what had 
happened at the shoemaker's house, and asked him 
whether he had heard who was the murderer, he told 
her, with the most perfect composure, " that both he 
and the miller's son, James, had been at the house on 
the very day of the murder, and would therefore 
probably be summoned before the court." He then 
proceeded, without any apparent embarrassment, to 
talk on other subjects. But nothing more strikingly 
exhibits his want of common sensibility than the cir- 
cumstance that it cost him nothing to look out of 
the window while the funeral of the shoemaker, 
his wife and child, passed by the public-house at 
Vilsbiberg, where he was. This he himself con- 
fessed, and he replied to the judge's question, 
whether he had, as was commonly reported, followed 
the funeral procession into the church, to hear the 
service "No, for I had on my working jacket; 
otherwise I should have gone to see the funeral. I 
wished on all accounts to go into the church. I cer- 
tainly was sorry for the people, but I could have gone 
and looked on, for all that." He who could do that 
could do more than other men, and of such a one, one 
is tempted to say that he was little less than a devil. 
During the whole trial he preserved the same indif- 
ference about his crime. Although he acknowledged 
it to be deserving of punishment, he did not once show 
the slightest remorse or compassion for his victims. 
Considered from a merely technical point of view, 


the case presented no legal difficulty. The compre- 
hensive and repeated confessions made by the pri- 
soner agreed exactly with the circumstantial evidence, 
and with the statements of the witnesses. . Most of the 
articles stolen from the shoemaker's house were found 
in the criminal's possession ; some were delivered into 
court by those persons to whom he had given or 
sold them ; only the silver watch-chain, which had 
so much contributed to tempt him to crime, was 
missing, and the accused stedfastly adhered to his 
assertion that he had not stolen it, for that, in spite of 
his eager search, he had been unable to find it. There 
was also a rosary set in silver missing from among 
the things left in the house ; the prisoner declared 
that he had not even seen it. 

The defence was necessarily confined to a few un- 
important formal objections, and to an attempt to 
prove that the accused was not in the full possession 
of his faculties, owing to drunkenness. But this plea 
was contradicted by the direct evidence of several 
witnesses, as well as by the nature of the crime and 
by the prisoner's own confession. The advocate would 
have most effectually served his client, but not the 
cause of justice, if he had succeeded in convincing 
the court of the truth of his remark, " that a man 
who could do such deeds in such a manner from such 
a motive, could not possibly be in his right senses, 
and that therefore it was necessary first of all to cause 
the medical officers of the court to examine into the 
state of his mind." This plea was, of course, refused, 
as the court was in full possession of the means of 
judging whether the criminal were responsible for 
actions, or not. 


The accused was accordingly, by his own confession, 
pronounced guilty, on the 28th July, 1819, 1st, of a 
qualified murder (murder accompanied by robbery) 
on the person of the master shoemaker Huber ; 2nd, 
of simple murder of his son, aged three ; 3rd, of a 
simple murder of the wife ; and 4th, of an attempt at 
the simple murder of the daughter, aged nine, and 
was sentenced to death by the sword ; which sentence 
was carried into execution on the 23rd October fol- 

Notwithstanding the horrid nature of his crimes, 
Wachs cannot be classed among the criminals of the 
first rank. Strong and easily excited animal pas- 
sions, great frivolity, and utter want of cultivation, 
were the chief elements of his character : in these the 
horrible deeds of the 8th April had their origin. 



IN the year 1821 a charwoman of the name of Maria 
Anna Holzmann, aged fifty-five, lodged in a house 
belonging to the shoemaker Sticht of Augsburg : she 
underlet a part of her lodging to George Rauschmaier 
and Joseph Steiner. 

Holzmann disappeared on Good Friday (20th of 
April). Rauschmaier and Steiner left their lodging 
some days later, without having given notice to the 
landlord Sticht, who lived in another street, of Holz- 
mann's disappearance. They afterwards gave out that 
she had quitted the house early on Friday morning, 
leaving behind her all her keys, and had never re- 

It was not till the 17th of May that Sticht informed 
the police of Holzmann's disappearance. Although 
Holzmann lived chiefly on charity, she possessed a 
store of good clothes and other property, and was 
supposed to have saved money. But when the ma- 
gistrate went with her brother and sister-in-law to 
take an inventory of the property, and to seal it 
up, it was discovered that all the best part of her 
property was missing. The persons present on this 
occasion were overpowered by an insufferable stench, 


which they attributed to the accumulation of dirt 
in the rooms lately occupied by Rauschmaier and 

The search made by the police, and the inquiries 
of the city magistrates after the missing woman, were 
fruitless. Holzmann's brother suggested that she 
might possibly have gone away and destroyed herself, 
as it was said that she had lately lost some money 
which she had lent at high interest. Rauschmaier, 
who was examined on oath before the magistrate on 
the 25th of June, stated that Holzmann left her home 
at eight o'clock on Friday morning in company with 
another woman; that she had never returned, and 
that he did not know whither she was gone, or what 
had become of her. The inquiry was then suffered to 
rest until some discovery should be made. 

The affair remained in this state till the 2nd of 
January, 1822, when a washerwoman of the name of 
Therese Beltler, who also inhabited Sticht's house, 
informed the police that while she and her son were 
hanging some linen to dry in the loft, they had dis- 
covered the thigh and trunk of a human body pro- 
bably those of the missing woman. The usual legal 
commission immediately proceeded to the house, and 
found, among some rubbish in a corner of the loft, a 
human leg and thigh ; about six yards off, wedged in 
between the chimney and the roof, they discovered a 
human trunk without head or limbs. In another 
corner they found an old gown and petticoat, together 
with a red neckerchief, all much stained with blood. 
These were recognised by another washerwoman in the 
house as part of the dress usually worn by Holzmann. 
On taking up the floor of Rauschmaier's room they 


found the other parts of the body. Among these was 
the left arm bent double, and wrapped in an old 

The head alone could nowhere be found : but 
this was soon accounted for. It appeared that at 
Whitsuntide, 1821, the inspector of a factory, not far 
from Sticht's house, had found a human skull in the 
weir belonging to the factory. After showing it to 
his brother, he threw it back into the river, the stream 
of which carried it away. The skull, which was de- 
scribed as small, and as having only two or three teeth 
in the jaw, was, in all probability, Anna Holzmann's. 

The limbs and body appeared as it were smoke- 
dried, and were much distorted by pressure in a con- 
fined space ; but after being washed with water and 
spirits of wine, and thus restored in some measure to 
their natural form, the remains were put together, as 
well as possible, for inspection by the proper officers. 
The arms and thighs had been removed from the 
sockets with so much care and skill, that it betrayed 
a practised hand. While the physician employed by 
the court examined the left arm, and endeavoured to 
straighten it, a brass ring fell out of the bend of the 
elbow. It had in all probability slipped from the 
murderer's finger while he was in the act of cutting 
up the body, in the keeping of which it remained as a 
silent witness against him. 

Holzmann was described by her friends and rela- 
tions as a small, well-shaped person, with this dis- 
tinctive mark, that her right foot was considerably 
thicker than the left, and that one of the toes had 
been removed many years before. This description 
exactly corresponded with the body when put together, 


and her brother and other relations did not doubt its 
identity with Holzmann. 

The discovery of the corpse in Holzmann's own 
house threw a strong suspicion on Rauschmaier and 
Steiner. It was scarcely possible that any one could 
have had time or opportunity to commit such a 
murder, save one or both of Holzmann's fellow-lodgers. 
Their staying so long in the house in which the scat- 
tered remains of the murdered woman were hidden, 
without communicating what they must at least have 
known, was an additional proof of the justice of the 
suspicion against them, especially against Rauschmaier, 
who had declared on his oath that Anna Holzmann 
left her home on Good Friday, 1820, leaving the 
keys with him, whereas it was quite clear that she 
had been murdered on that very day, in her own 
house. Before long it was discovered that during 
Easter week Rauschmaier and his mistress had pawned 
or sold much of Holzmann's property. 

Rauschmaier was arrested on the 2nd of January, 
as soon as the dissevered body was discovered. Among 
other things found upon him was a tattered pocket- 
book, containing a remarkable document printed in 
the form of a patent at Cologne, and adorned with the 
effigies of a number of saints : it purported to be a 
letter written from heaven by Jesus Christ himself, and 
brought down to earth by the archangel Michael, 
granting full absolution for all sins and crimes, how- 
ever horrible, in short a patent well worthy to be 
worn by robbers, thieves, and murderers.* 

* This impious and superstitious document bears the superscrip- 
tion : " Copia, or copy from a divine epistle writ in God's own 
hand, and now hanging before the image of St. Michael, on 


On his summary examination Rauschmaier re- 
peated his former assertion that Anna Holzmann had 
left the house early on Good Friday, and had never 
returned. His manner during examination, and when 
the corpse was shown to him in the churchyard, was 
cool and unembarrassed. He showed no emotion, and 
professed ignorance of the body exposed to view. On 
the 22nd of January he requested an audience, in which, 
however, he said nothing, but that he wished to be 
soon released. On the following day he demanded 
another interview, and this time he confessed that 
soon after Holzmann's departure he had taken several 
of her things, which he had given to his mistress to 
carry away. The judge thought it expedient to exa- 
mine Rauschmaier merely as to the robbery, without 
the slightest reference to the murder. Several articles 

St. Michael's Mount in Brittany, and no one knoweth whereon it 
hangeth ; the which is writ in letters of gold, and was brought 
thither by the holy angel Michael. Whosoever willeth to touch 
this document, from him it turneth whosoever willeth to copy it> 
unto him doth it bend down and unfold itself." Christ then writes 
in his own person, and first of all impresses upon the faithful the 
absolute necessity of keeping holy the sabbath, hearing the proper 
number of masses, never working on saint-days, and the like. He 
then continues, " I say to you, by the mouth of my mother, by the 
Christian Church, and by the head of John my Baptist, that I, the 
true Christ, have writ this epistle with mine own divine hand. This 
epistle shall be copied the one from the other, and should a man 
liave committed as many sins as there be sands on the sea-shore, 
blades of grass on the earth, or stars in the heavens, if he confesseth 
and repenteth him of his sins, they shall be forgiven him. Whosoever 
hath such a letter by him or in his house, his prayers will I hear, 
and him shall no thunder or lightning harm. Whatsoever woman 
big with child shall carry this letter upon her, shall be in due time 
delivered of a fair offspring. Keep my commandments, as I have 
ordained through my holy angel Michael. /, the true Jesus 


of dress belonging to Holzmann, which were already 
in the possession of the court, were shown to the pri- 
soner, and recognised by him as part of what he had 
stolen. A pair of ear-rings and two gold rings were 
then placed before him, together with the brass ring 
which had been found in the elbow of the murdered 
woman. On seeing these he exclaimed, " The ear- 
rings and the gold and brass rings are mine ! The 
brass ring I always wore until within four or five 
weeks after Easter, since when I have worn the gold 
ones. The brass ring fits the little finger of my left 
hand." It slipped on and off with ease ; had a doubt 
remained, the telltale ring must have dispelled it. 

On the 1 1th of March, 1822, Rauschmaier, his mis- 
tress Elizabeth Ditscher, and Steiner, were brought 
before the court for special examination. 

At his first examination Rauschmaier repeated his 
former confession, that he had robbed his landlady. 
He adhered to the same story at his second examina- 
tion, but answered the searching questions of the judge 
in monosyllables, and betrayed embarrassment by his 
confused and hesitating manner, and his changing 
colour. On his third examination, which took place 
two days after, he fell upon his knees, and exclaimed, 
weeping bitterly, " Mr. Commissioner, I see that you 
are well disposed towards me. You spoke so kindly 
the other day, that I will confess my guilt to you sin- 
cerely :" and he kept his word. 

George Rauschmaier, a turner by trade, was born 
at Augsburg, of Catholic parents. His father was a 
baker, and his mother a midwife. At the time of the 
murder he was about four and thirty. His mother and 
sister said in evidence against him, that his mind had 


been perverted from his youth : he had always been 
remarkable for coarse, ill-regulated passions, violence 
of temper, love of dissipation, idleness, and expensive 
habits. He could neither read nor write, and was so 
ignorant of the first principles of the Christian religion 
as to require instruction from a priest before he could 
receive the Sacrament, towards the end of his trial. 

In his seventh year he was apprenticed to a brick- 
layer, and during the winter he found employment in a 
manufactory. In his thirteenth year he learnt turnery 
at Munich for three years, at the end of which he re- 
turned, on his father's death, to Augsburg, and in 
1805 he entered the Austrian service. When the war 
was ended his regiment was disbanded, and he re- 
turned to Augsburg. He was occasionally employed, 
till 1807, both there and at Munich as a turner ; but 
his employers said that he was an idle, insolent, and 
dissolute fellow, whom no one could keep long in their 
service. In 1807 he was drawn for the Bavarian army, 
but soon deserted to the Austrians; and in 1809 he 
fought against his own countrymen. In 1809 he again 
deserted, and re-entered the Bavarian service. In 
1811 he underwent a military trial and punishment 
for theft. He passed through the horrors of the Rus- 
sian campaign in 1812 and 1813, which, together 
with the observations that he had the opportunity of 
making in the military hospitals, completely obliterated 
the slight remaining traces of humanity left in his na- 
ture. When his regiment was at Warsaw, on its way 
back in 1814, he stole money and property to the 
amount of 110 florins from the adjutant, for which he 
was sentenced to fifteen months' imprisonment on his 
return to his native country When released from 


prison, he returned to Augsburg, where he remained a 
year and a half, until his arrest, earning his bread 
however he could. He said to the judge, " You see 
from this account of my life, how neglected I was, and 
how low I have sunk in consequence." 

He continued : " I was always in want of money, 
and knew not whence to get it. I wanted to buy clothes, 
but would not stint myself of meat and drink. The 
thought struck me that I would kill Anna Holzmann, 
who, to my knowledge, possessed many good clothes, 
and who was supposed to have saved some money. 
I determined to strangle her, as that was easiest, left 
no trace of blood, and could be done without noise : I 
had also heard the army surgeons in Russia say that 
the bodies of persons strangled or suffocated bled 
but little when dissected. I made up my mind to 
the murder some six or eight days before Good 
Friday, and since that time I had no peace from 
doubting whether I should do it or let it alone. At 
length, on the morning of Good Friday, the people of 
the house went to church, even Steiner was out, and 
by eight o'clock I was left alone in the house with 
Anna Holzmann. The opportunity overcame me, and, 
without saying a word I walked straight into her 
room, rushed upon her as she was going towards the 
bed, upon which I threw her and squeezed her throat 
with both hands while I lay upon her with the whole 
weight of my body. She could make no resistance, 
and in five minutes she was dead without having 
uttered a sound, nor could she have suffered much as 
she was old and weak. When I saw that she was 
dead I let her body sink upon the floor. 

" I then searched her chest for clothes and money, 



but was much disappointed ; instead of what I ex- 
pected, I found only eight kreutzers. 

" After the body had lain upon the floor for about 
an hour and a quarter and was quite cold, I dragged 
it into the loft which was level with her room. 

<; To get rid of the corpse I determined to cut it up 
with a large clasp-knife, which I afterwards threw into 
the Lech. I had frequently seen bodies dissected in 
the hospitals in Russia." He then gave a minute de- 
scription of the whole operation, which he seems to 
have performed in little more than an hour. He de- 
scribed how he hid the several parts of Holzmann's 
corpse in the places where they were subsequently 
found, and threw the head, wrapped in an old apron, 
into the Lech, after taking off the gold ear-rings. 
Hereupon he immediately went, at between ten and 
eleven, to the church of St. Maurice, but could not 
pray from remorse, fear, and sorrow. In the evening 
he went to the Calvary. " I knew very well," said 
he, " that the murder I had committed was a great 
sin ; but want of money and the desire to possess some 
blinded me to the heavy consequences of my crime. 
The murder of Holzmann seemed to me the easiest 
and most convenient means of obtaining money. I 
shook from head to foot while I was cutting her up 
and hiding her remains, and since that time I have 
had no real happiness, as every one must have seen." 
When asked about the brass ring, he said he must have 
lost it while cutting up the body. The judge told him 
where it had been found, whereupon he exclaimed, 
" Yes, yes ! nothing more likely. It must have slipped 
off my little finger while I was bending Holzmann's 
arm, and been left sticking in the bend of her elbow." 


After this confession, Rauschmaier seemed much 
more easy, showed great repentance, and frequently 
shed tears at his examinations. 

While Rauschmaier's example affords a proof that 
there exist human beings in the heart of Europe as 
deficient in moral and intellectual culture as the savages 
of New Zealand, the conduct of the second prisoner, 
Steiner, shows how little importance can be attached 
to the statements of a prisoner, more especially when 
made against another. 

Steiner was thirty-four years old and born at Augs- 
burg of Catholic parents. He was a woodcutter by 
trade : his education had been as much neglected as 
Rauschmaier's, and in intellect he was even below him. 
When examined in 1820 as to Holzmann's disappear- 
ance, the authorities were forced to dispense with his 
taking an oath, as he could not be made to compre- 
hend its nature and significance. After his examina- 
tion the judge remarked, that " the witness appeared 
utterly deficient in culture, and incapable of forming 
an idea : he was almost an idiot, and an answer could 
not be obtained from him without extreme difficulty." 

On his first regular examination of the 2nd of 
January 1821 he asserted not only his innocence, but 
also his ignorance of the cause of Holzmann's disap- 
pearance. The judge again observed, that " his beha- 
viour proved the deficiency of his intellect, and that 
everything had to be very clearly explained to him 
before an answer could be obtained from him," He 
was examined on the 15th of January, merely with 
regard to his family and to his means of subsistence, 
when he began suddenly and of his own accord, a long 
rambling narrative to the following effect : TJiat he 



returned home at about ten or eleven at night on Good 
Friday, and went to wish his landlady good night, as 
was his usual custom ; but not finding her in bed, he 
thought that she would not return that night, and 
thereupon got into her bed himself. During the night 
he heard a heavy fall over head, and a noise as if some- 
thing was being dragged backwards and forwards. On 
the Saturday he came home at about ten at night : 
his comrade opened the door to him, and would not 
allow him to enter his landlady's room, but lighted 
him at once to his own. He had scarcely lain down 
when something dropped from the ceiling upon his 
nose, and when he turned in bed, upon his back. In 
the morning he found that this was blood. He called 
Rauschmaier's attention to this, who answered that he 
could not account for it, but that it was of no conse- 
quence. At first he thought nothing of it ; but, on 
seeing Holzmann's remains in the churchyard, the 
thought struck him that she must have been murdered 
by Rauschmaier. He himself had never harmed her. 
The judge remarked that Steiner took great pains to 
make his story intelligible, gave his evidence without 
embarrassment or hesitation, and showed that he had 
more sense than had at first appeared. On the 
4th of February he requested another audience, and 
on being asked what he had to say, he replied, 
" Something has occurred to me : my memory is bad, 
and I have erred in several matters. Even a horse, 
which has four legs, sometimes stumbles ; why should 
not I?" He now modified his former statement: it 
was not on Friday, but on Saturday, that he had slept 
in Holzmann's bed, and the blood had dropped upon 
his nose on the Thursday night, not on Good Friday. 


He had said to Rauschmaier, early on Friday, " Surely, 
in God's name, you have not murdered our landlady?" 
whereupon Rauschmaier threatened to kill him if he 
said a word about the blood or their landlady. He 
then showed him a thick knotted club, saying, " I will 
strike you dead with this if you say a word of the 
matter !" Steiner continued : " As he thus threat- 
ened me, and 1 was in fear of my life, I never said a 
word to any one; but, sir, you may be sure that my 
comrade, who is a bold strong fellow, murdered the 
woman." He then proceeded, after some interruption, 
" It now strikes me that the blood must have been 
wiped up on Easter Sunday with my shirt, which I 
found in a corner soaked with blood. No doubt my 
comrade did this on purpose to throw the suspicion on 
me. It likewise occurs to me that about a week or a 
fortnight before Good Friday, my comrade wrestled 
with Holzmaun, in joke, of course in order to try her 
strength. He must therefore even then have made 
up his mind to murder her. Nobody acts a play 
until the rehearsal has turned out well." He further 
added, that a week after Easter he was with Rausch- 
maier at a tavern, and when they were alone his com- 
rade offered him a silver ring and a pair of ear-rings, 
to say nothing about the blood or their landlady ; but 
he would take nothing from him. 

Steiner's statement had every appearance of truth, 
and agreed in the main with what was already known : 
and so long as Rauschmaier withheld his confession it 
appeared of the utmost importance. 

But when the latter was asked, after making a full 
confession, whether any one was privy to the murder 
which he had committed, he answered, " No human 


being ; I resolved upon and committed the murder 
alone, exactly as I have already confessed it, because 
I trusted no one ; if, perchance, Joseph Steiner or 
Elizabeth Ditscher are suspected, I hereby attest their 
innocence ; nor do I believe that Steiner saw anything, 
at any rate he never gave me to understand that he 
suspected me." In the following examination when 
he was told that Steiner asserted that he had disco- 
vered traces of the murder, and that he had taken 
Rauschmaier to task about it, the latter replied, " It 
is a thorough lie ; he never said a word to me of the 
matter. The fellow does nothing but tell lies from 
morning till night. Had he discovered anything, he 
would have informed against me. Why should not I 
confess this fact, if it were true ?" 

At Steiner's third examination the discrepancy be- 
tween his statement and Rauschmaier's repentant con- 
fession was fully explained. The judge called Steiner's 
attention to some marked contradiction, whereupon 
he exclaimed, " I am an ass, and have said a great 
deal that is not true. I must beg pardon for having 
lied so much. I thought to myself that, perhaps, my 
comrade murdered the woman, and that I was sus- 
pected, although I am innocent; I therefore said what- 
ever came into my head to strengthen the suspicion 
against Rauschmaier, and to convince you of my own 
innocence. All that I have said about the blood drop- 
ping upon my nose, and my shirt, about the noise of 
one falling and being dragged over head, and about my 
observations to Rauschmaier, his threatening words, 
promises, and so forth, are mere inventions. I neither 
saw nor heard anything ; but I suspected that Holz- 
mann had been murdered by Rauschmaier. I then 


considered how it must all have been done, and told it 
accordingly. I wonder how it all came into my head ; 
I should soon have believed the story myself. Forgive 
my stupidity, I am a mere ass. Only think how 
stupid ! I now begin to see what trouble I have got 
myself into by my lies ; but I hope I shall not suffer 
for them, as I did not harm the old woman. I thought 
I was doing the court a pleasure by saying what I 
fancied about Rauschmaier, for I still believe him to 
be guilty." 

Rauschmaier's advocate was led by his sense of jus- 
tice and propriety to confine the defence of his client 
to an appeal to the mercy of the court. He did not 
attempt by legal quibbles to gain an acquittal for a 
man who had already confessed his guilt, but called 
the attention of the judge to his client's neglected 

On the 9th of May, 1822, Rauschmaier was found 
guilty of murder, and condemned to death by the 
sword, with previous exposure for half an hour in the 

Steiner was acquitted, and Elizabeth Ditscher was 
condemned to an eight days' imprisonment for receiv- 
ing stolen goods. 

Rauschmaier's sentence received the confirmation 
of the superior court on the 18th of June ; but a royal 
rescript of the 28th of June directed that the exposure 
previous to execution should be omitted. 



IN the summer of 1807 Barbara Reisinger, the 
daughter of Peter Reisinger, a day-labourer at Loi- 
senrieth, left her father's house in quest of service, 
and disappeared. No tidings of her ever reached her 

In the beginning of the year 1808 the same thing 
happened to another young woman, named Catherine 
Seidel, of Regendorf. She went out one morning, 
intending to have her fortune told by a certain An- 
drew Bichel, and never returned home to her sisters, 
who inquired after her in vain at Bichel's house. 

The disappearance of these two girls remained for 
a long time unknown to the local authorities. The 
parents of Barbara Reisinger comforted themselves 
with vain hopes ; the sisters of Catherine Seidel wept 
her loss in silence. A report reached them that Bichel's 
wife had sold some clothes belonging to Catherine ; 
but they disregarded these rumours, and contented 
themselves with inquiring of Bichel himself after 
their missing sister ; with unsuspecting simplicity they 
gave full belief to his mere denial of any knowledge 
of her. At length an accident led to the first judicial 
inquiry. Walburga, the younger sister of Catherine 


Seidel, went by chance into a tailor's shop at Regen- 
dorf, and found him making a waistcoat for Bichel 
of some dimity which she recognised as a part of her 
sister's petticoat. This was too suspicious a discovery 
to be passed over, and on the 19th of May, 1808, 
Walburga Seidel laid information to the following 
effect before the provincial magistrate. 

She stated that while she herself was from home 
about thirteen weeks before, some woman had come 
to their house at eight o'clock in the morning with 
a message from Andrew Bichel to Catherine, to the 
effect that some one at his house wished to speak with 
her. Catherine accordingly went to him, but imme- 
diately returned, and told her elder sister Theresa, that 
Bichel was going to show her her fortune in a glass, 
and that she was to take clothes enough to change 
three several times ; moreover, that the clothes must 
be good and fine the very best she had. Catherine 
then packed up her clothes, and went back with them 
to Bichel, since when she had never been seen or heard 
of. Two or three days after, Theresa, the elder sister, 
called at Bichel's house, which she found locked, and, 
on asking after her sister, Bichel told her (contrary 
to that which he said to others) that he knew nothing 
about Catherine save that she had gone away with a 
strange man, at whose request he had sent for her. 
Bichel repeated the same tale to her sister and herself 
about a week since, after they had repeatedly ques- 
tioned him about their sister. Upon her sister's dis- 
appearance, it was rumoured throughout the village, 
that a long time ago a cousin of Bichel's had gone to 
his house to see her fortune in the glass, that she 
had disappeared, and that Bichel had sold her clothes, 


saying that she no longer wanted them, as she was 
now called " my Lady," arid wore French clothes. 

On the following day, which was the 20th of May, 
the authorities proceeded to Regendorf in order to in- 
stitute the necessary search in Bichel's house, to arrest 
Bichel, and to receive evidence on the spot. When 
the authorities reached Bichel's house, he was absent, 
but two police Serjeants were sent in pursuit of him 
into the forest where he was gone. His wife was 
closely watched in the mean time, while the authori- 
ties examined Theresa Seidel at the court-house. She 
confirmed her sister's statement with great precision 
and minuteness, and gave an accurate description of 
all the clothes which Catherine had taken with her to 
Bichel's house. She likewise named the 15th of Fe- 
bruary, 1808, as the day on which her sister had dis- 

Theresa Seidel's examination was not concluded 
when the police brought into court a cotton handker- 
chief which they had found on Bichel's person on his 
arrest. He had anxiously endeavoured first to conceal 
and then to throw it away. As soon as Theresa Seidel 
saw this handkerchief, she exclaimed, " Jesus Maria ! 
that belonged to my sister Catherine ! " On examining 
it more closely, she identified it with certainty. 

Bichel was immediately examined : he affected to 
be totally ignorant of the cause of his arrest. He as- 
serted that he had bought the handkerchief in the rag- 
market at Ratisbon, and the dimity which he had 
given to the tailor from a strange pedlar. He denied 
any acquaintance with the sisters of Seidel : and 
of Catherine he said he knew nothing save that a 
young man, a stranger to him, had sent for her to his 


house : that they had probably gone off together, and 
that he had since heard that she had been seen at 
Landshut dressed in French clothes. But his whole 
manner 'his evasive, improbable, and often hasty 
answers his hesitation and perplexity his changing 
complexion, clearly betrayed his guilt. When asked 
whether he did not possess a magic mirror, he turned 
scarlet, but denied all knowledge of it, and stated 
that about a year ago a man with a goitre and a 
swelled chin had come to his house and had shown 
the girls their future husbands in a peepshow. 

The officers of the court then searched Bichel's 
house, and found in his room a chest filled with 
women's clothes : many more, which were at once 
recognised as having belonged to Catherine, were 
found in the loft. Bichel's wife declared that she 
knew nothing at all of the latter ; those in the chest 
she said had been given to her by her husband, who 
had received them from the father of Barbara Reisinger, 
the other missing girl. Walburga and Theresa Seidel 
separately recognised a great number of these clothes 
as their sister's, and many more as Barbara Reisinger's. 
Several other witnesses proved that Bichel's wife had 
sold various articles of dress belonging to these two 
women, and had worn others. It likewise appeared 
that Bichel, both before and after Catherine Seidel's 
disappearance, had tried to induce several other girls 
to go to his house by offering to tell their fortunes ; 
and on the day of Catherine Seidel's disappearance, 
she had been seen in the neighbourhood of his house 
with a bundle under her arm at about two P.M. 

All this indicated some strange and horrible deed, 
but proof of a murder having been committed was still 


wanting. It was certain that Catherine Seidel had 
disappeared : it was equally certain that Barbara 
Reisinger had also disappeared ; and no doubt could 
exist that some crime had been committed ; but whether 
this crime was abduction, manslaughter, or murder, it 
was not easy to discover. No dead bodies were to be 
found, no stains of blood or other traces of violence 
were visible. 

The discovery was at length made by means of a dog. 
Whenever the police serjeant went to Bichel's house, 
his dog ran towards the wood-shed in the yard, and 
sniffed at it until repeatedly called off. This ex- 
cited the attention of his master, who accordingly took 
with him some other men, and on the 22nd of May 
they commenced digging within and around the shed. 
They had scarce turned up the earth in one corner, 
where a good deal of straw and litter was closely 
heaped together, before they found several bones, and 
a foot or so deeper they discovered the lower half of a 
human body wrapped in some cotton rags. A large 
heap of logs lay just above the shed near a chalk-pit : 
when these were removed, and they had dug to a little 
depth, they came upon a half-decayed head, and the 
upper part of a body, which the police serjeant imme- 
diately conjectured to be that of Reisinger. At a short 
distance they found, after some digging, a second body, 
which likewise appeared to have been cut in half. This 
the police and the witnesses present immediately re- 
cognised by the features and by the pinchbeck ear- 
rings as the corpse of Catherine Seidel. These re- 
mains were carefully conveyed into the sitting-room, 
where they were guarded by four men. 

Andrew Bichel was just about to be examined for 


the second time when information of this important 
discovery reached the court, which immediately pro- 
ceeded, accompanied by a physician and two sur- 
geons, to Bichel's house at Regensdorf. The spot in 
which the bodies had been found, and the remains 
themselves, were carefully examined. From the ap- 
pearance of both bodies the physicians were of opinion 
that they must have been cut up the middle with a 
sharp knife driven in by a hammer : the arms were 
still attached to the sides; the feet had been cut 
off just above the ankles. The physician declared 
in the report which he drew up for the court on the 
second dead body, " That he found no reason to sup- 
pose that the person was dead or even mortally 
wounded before she was cut up. She might have 
been stunned by a blow on the head, but it could not 
have been mortal, neither was the stab in the neck 
sufficient to have produced death ; he therefore con- 
ceived that her death was occasioned by cutting open 
and dividing her body." 

The second dead body was recognised as that of 
Catherine Seidel. Her two sisters identified the ear- 
rings and some silver buttons which were found in 
Bichel's house as her's. Humanity induced the judge 
to spare the sisters the painful task of identifying the 

Bichel was now examined a second time. He began 
by declaring that he would now speak the truth, where- 
upon he told a long story of how Catherine Seidel had 
been murdered by strangers in his house ; he, however, 
immediately retracted this, and approached somewhat 
nearer to the truth. Promising to be no longer ob- 
stinate, and to tell all he knew, provided he were not 


punished, he confessed that in the heat of an angry 
discussion he had killed Catherine Seidel by striking 
her with a log of wood. Every succeeding question 
was answered by a fresh lie, and every lie was fol- 
lowed by a confession of something approaching the 
truth, which was again disguised by falsehood and 
prevarication ; until at length, spite of his determina- 
tion not to confess even the most indifferent circum- 
stances, the court with great difficulty arrived at the 
conclusion that he had murdered Seidel for the sake 
of her clothes, and that he had then cut her up and 
buried her remains. 

When he was questioned concerning the other corpse 
which had been found in his house, he turned pale, 
trembled, and again reddened, but stoutly denied all 
knowledge of the body. On further inquiry, he stated 
that a distant cousin of his, whose Christian name 
was Barbara (her surname he professed not to re- 
member), and whose father was a day-labourer at 
Loisenrieth, had once served as bar-maid at a tavern 
at Regendorf, that he had lately seen her at Ratisbori, 
and that she had given him some of her clothes during 
the past year, partly as a present and partly to sell 
for her. 

During the whole of this examination, in the course 
of which ninety-one questions were put to him, his 
eyes were fixed upon the ground, and his manner 
betrayed the conflict in his mind between wickedness 
and confusion : at every fresh admission wrung from 
him by the force of overpowering evidence, he showed 
great vexation, but not the slightest feeling of sorrow 
or contrition. 

At this juncture the judge reminded the court of a 


clause in the royal decree of the 7th of July, 1806, for 
the abolition of torture, directing the conduct to be 
observed towards criminals who refused to confess ; 
namely, that the criminal be conveyed to the spot 
where the murder was committed, and, if possible, 
examined in the very presence of the corpse.* Bichel 
was accordingly conveyed to Regendorf. He was first 
taken to the town-hall, and even there the feeling that 
he was approaching the scene of his crimes so over- 
powered him, that he was near fainting, and they were 
obliged to give him water to drink. The provincial 
judge then addressed him as follows : " You are now 
close to your own home the scene of your crimes ; 
confess the truth at once, or you will be conducted to 
your own house, where you will behold the bodies of 
your victims." But as yet his will was stronger than 
even the powerful feelings which agitated his mind. 
He steadfastly asserted that he knew nothing of the 
first corpse which was said to have been found in 
his house. 

Hereupon he was taken to his own house, where the 
two dead bodies were laid each upon a board as well as 
the remains could be put together. On being led 
up to the first, that of Barbara Reisinger, Bichel 
trembled in every limb, his face was convulsed, his 
looks became fearful, and he asked for water. When 
asked whether he knew the body, he answered with a 
hollow voice, " No ! I never before saw a corpse which 

* Feuerbach remarks that this proceeding has generally suc- 
ceeded in Bavaria. A murderer who had obstinately persevered in 
denial of his guilt for three years, immediately confessed on being 
conducted to the spot of the murder. He adds that in cases of 
child-murder this has never failed. 


had lain in the grave." On being taken to the second 
body, he could no longer stand, but sunk into a chair : 
all his muscles quivered, and his face was horribly dis- 
torted. He then declared that he recognised Cathe- 
rine Seidel in the corpse before him. " I recognise 
her," said he, " by the hands, and by the way in which 
the body is cut open." The judge asked him why 
he was so much agitated on seeing the first corpse. 
" I only trembled," said he, " at the sight who 
would not tremble on such an occasion ? " He per- 
sisted in his former assertions of complete ignorance. 

Meanwhile, however, the impression left on his 
mind by this scene did not wear off. In his solitary 
prison the terrors of his imagination overcame his 
obstinacy. Two days after, Bichel demanded an audi- 
ence, and confessed himself guilty of the murder of 
Barbara Reisinger also. He denied that his wife had 
any share in or even knowledge of either murder. 

After repeated examinations, which in all the cir- 
cumstances of the murder were completely ascertained 
by his own confession, .as well as by the evidence of 
witnesses, the report was sent to the court of appeal at 
Neuburg, by which judgment was pronounced on the 
4th of February, 1809, to the following effect: 

" That Andrew Bichel of Regendorf be dragged to 
the place of execution, there to be broken on the 
wheel from the feet upwards, without the previous 
mercy-stroke, and his body to be afterwards exposed 
on the wheel." 

This judgment was confirmed by the central court 
to which it was sent for revision. 

Andrew Bichel was forty-eight years of age, a 
Catholic, and born of peasants living at Wetterfeld : 


both his parents were dead. He married at Regen- 
dorf, where he owned a cottage worth about 200 
florins. He had no children by his wife, with whom 
he lived on excellent terms. His reputation was not 
particularly bad, indeed his faults are best described 
by negatives. He was not a drunkard, nor a gambler, 
nor quarrelsome ; nay, more, he was distinguished 
for piety. On the other hand he was given to pilfer- 
ing, and was, according to common report, in the 
habit of robbing his neighbours' gardens. He was 
employed by the innkeeper at Regendorf for three 
years; during this time he committed a variety of 
petty thefts, which his master forgave him, till at 
length Bichel so far presumed upon his good nature 
as to steal his hay out of the loft, whereupon mine 
host discharged him from his service. 

These few traits of character are significant of a 
covetous and abject nature, shrinking from risk and 
from punishment, though not from crime. Even his 
easy behaviour towards his wife and his neighbours 
did not proceed from a kind but from a cowardly 
disposition : it was the conduct of a man content 
quietly to suffer wrong, from want of courage to 
resist it, who dares not injure others for fear of 
being injured in return, and who patiently endures 
insults only because he is too timid to revenge them. 
The outbreak of ferocity in such a nature is all 
the more terrible when a secret and safe oppor- 
tunity presents itself. Cowardice is almost always 
allied with cunning, and usually with cruelty and 
malice. To men of this character the innocent and 
the weak seem fitting objects whereon to wreak their 
vengeance for the injuries which their self-love has 


received. Nothing is more true than the old saying, 
that the most abject slave becomes the most cruel 
tyrant. Another remarkable trait in the character of 
Bichel was a degree of covetousness which looked 
upon no booty as too small to be worth obtaining even 
by the greatest crimes, if they could but be committed 
without danger. Such a character as Bichel's is made 
up of cruelty, insensibility, avarice, and cowardice 
allied to a very limited understanding and to a coarse 
nature utterly unsoftened by education. A man thus 
constituted will commit no crimes requiring energy 
or courage ; he will never venture to rob on the high- 
way, or to break into a house ; but he would commit 
arson, administer poison, murder a man in his sleep, 
or, like Bichel y cunningly induce young girls to go 
to him, and then murder them in cold blood for the 
sake of their clothes, or of a few pence. 

The first murder of this sort, at least the first which 
had been detected, was that committed on Barbara 
Reisinger of Loisenrieth, soon after Michaelmas, 1806. 
While out of place she lived with her parents, but left 
them towards Michaelmas in search of service. For 
this purpose she went to Andrew Bichel, who had 
promised to get her a place. She found him at home 
with his wife, and told him the object of her visit. 
He replied that he just then knew of no suitable place 
for her ; whereupon she said that she would go to 
Ratisbon and try her luck there. While they were 
talking, Bichel's wife, according to his own account, 
went away to her work at another village, whence 
she was not to return till evening. When he was left 
alone with Barbara Reisinger, the thought struck 
him (if, indeed, it had not done so long before) to 


murder her for her clothes : it is true that she had 
nothing with her but the gown on her back ; but 
her father had all her clothes in his keeping, and as 
he knew that his children were acquainted with 
Bichel, and that Barbara was gone to Bichel's house 
in the hope of hearing of a place, nothing could be 
easier than to obtain these clothes under some specious 

Bichel turned the conversation with Barbara Rei- 
singer upon witchcraft, and told her that he possessed 
a magic mirror, in which every young woman could 
see her future fate, her lover, her destined husband, 
and the like ; all, in short, that is most interesting to 
the female heart. The poor girl readily fell into the 
snare, and was filled with curiosity to look into this 
magic mirror. Bichel left the room for a few minutes, 
folded a white cloth round a board, and returned with 
this pretended mirror, and a small common magnify- 
ing glass. He placed them both on the table, desiring 
her on no account to touch these sacred objects : he 
then told her that she must allow her eyes to be ban- 
daged, and her hands to be tied behind her back, in 
order to prevent her from even making the attempt. 
The deluded girl consented to everything, and Bichel 
bound a handkerchief over her eyes, tied her hands 
together, and then stabbed her in the neck with 
a knife ; she fetched one sigh, and instantly fell. He 
then cut her open, chopped her body to pieces, in 
order the more easily to conceal it, and buried the 
remains in and near the shed where the corpses were 
subsequently found. He then washed the room, which 
was deluged with blood, and strewed sand and ashes 
over it to conceal the stains. He told his wife on her 



return, when she remarked how wet the room was, 
that he had spilt a bucket of water. 

Neither his peace of mind nor his outward demeanour 
were the least disturbed by this act. He went on 
with his usual avocations, and in due time contrived 
in the most cold-blooded manner to reap the reward 
of his labour. He started during the Christmas 
holidays for Loisenrieth, in order to fetch the mur- 
dered woman's clothes. On his way he was met by 
Barbara's father going to Regendorf to inquire after 
his daughter. " Well, how is this ? have you not yet 
sent her clothes ?" exclaimed Bichel. " I have already 
despatched several messages to you desiring you to 
forward your child's clothes to me. She is in service 
with an ambassador she is married, and she and her 
husband have an estate to manage. She commis- 
sioned me to send her clothes after her." The father 
maintained that he had received no message. " Well, 
then," continued Bichel, "since I am so far on the 
way I will return with you and fetch them." He 
did so. The mother carefully packed up all her 
daughter's clothes, and gave them to Bichel. The 
father accompanied him to some distance, carrying 
the booty for him as far as a certain public-house, 
where they separated. Old Reisinger afterwards heard 
that Bichel was selling some of his daughter's clothes. 
He went three several times to Ratisbon to inquire 
after his daughter, but of course obtained no informa- 
tion about her. At last he went to Bichel himself at 
Regendorf, reproached him, and called him a rogue. 
But Bichel drove him away with threats and told 
him not to trouble himself any further about his 
daughter, who was well provided for. 


The length of time during which this crime re- 
mained undiscovered, can only be accounted for by 
the ignorance and boundless simplicity of Barbara 
Reisinger's parents, and of the other persons to whom 
so many suspicious circumstances were known. 

Meanwhile, Bichel sought for fresh victims. The 
first murder was so easily perpetrated, and so richly 
rewarded, that he determined to make a trade of it. 
A man who has once deliberately committed an ill- 
human action will not, so long as the same motives 
to crime exist, rest content with his first exploit. 
Once acquainted with horrors, he will soon become 
familiarised with them. 

Bichel now looked about for other girls whom he 
might delude by superstition and entice into his 
power, and within reach of his knife. It is not 
exactly known upon how many he tried his cunning : 
the legal authorities, however, heard of several. About 
Christmas, 1807, he cast his eyes upon a girl of one 
and twenty, called Graber : he turned the conversation 
upon her absent lover, and asked if she had lately 
heard from him. She answered that she had not; 
and he said, " Well, if you will say nothing about it 
to any one, you may come to me, and I will then let 
you look in my magic glass, which will show you 
whether your lover be alive or dead. But in order 
to see this you must put on a boddice, which is so 
holy that it can only be touched with a cloth." He 
added that she must bring her best clothes, and her 
finest shift. She promised to go to him, but did 
not keep her word, and Bichel sent a woman to her 
a few days before his arrest, to bid her hasten her 
visit. He also endeavoured by similar representations 


to induce a certain Juliana Daweck to go to him 
with her clothes, and repeatedly used the most pressing 
entreaties to prevail upon her to do so. He laid the 
same snare for a girl called Margaret Heimberger. 
These women were saved, some by their want of faith 
in the wonderful properties of the magic mirror, others 
by a secret dread of Bichel, and others again by mere 
accident. Nothing, however, happened to rescue the 
unfortunate Catherine Seidel, the discovery of whose 
murder put an end to his wicked deeds. 

Some nine months before, Seidel's fine clothes had 
attracted his attention, while he was coming from 
Ratisbon with her : he at once resolved to murder her, 
and immediately began to prepare the means. He 
entered into conversation with her, boasted of the vir- 
tues of his magic mirror, and invited her to come and 
see it. Why she did not then go, whether he re- 
peated his invitation several times, and why the plan 
was not executed until some months afterwards, is 
not stated in any of the official documents. We will 
now proceed in the criminal's own words, which are 
too remarkable and characteristic to be omitted : 

'* On the day of the murder," said he, " I sent for 
Catherine, and when she arrived I said to her, since we 
are quite alone I will let you look in my magic mirror. 
But you must go home and fetch your best clothes, so 
that you may be able to shift yourself several times. 
When she had returned in her common working 
clothes, carrying her other things in her apron, I rolled 
a white napkin round a board, and brought a spy- 
glass, both of which I laid upon the table, forbidding 
her to touch either that or the mirror. I then tied 
.her hands behind her with a bit of pack-thread, the 


same which I had before used for Barbara Reisinger, 
and bound a handkerchief over her eyes. I then 
stabbed her in the throat with a knife which I had in 
readiness. I had a desire to see how she was made 
inwardly, and for this purpose I took a wedge, which 
I placed upon her breast bone, and struck it with a 
cobbler's hammer. I thus opened her breast, and cut 
through the fleshy parts of her body with a knife. 
I began to cut her open as soon as ever I had stabbed 
her ; and no man, however quickly he may pray, could 
get through his rosary, or say ten Ave Marias in the 
time it took me to cut open her breast and the rest 
of her body. I cut up this person as a butcher does 
a sheep, chopping the corpse with an axe into portions 
which would go into the pit which I had already dug 
for it on the hill. The whole time I was so eager 
that I trembled, and could have cut out a bit and 
eaten it. When Seidel had received the first stab, 
she screamed, struggled, and sighed six or seven 
times. As I cut her open immediately after stabbing 
her, it is very possible that she may still have been 
alive when I began cutting. I buried the fragments 
of the body, after having carefully locked the doors. 
I washed the bloody shift and gown belonging to 
Seidel twice, and hid them from my wife, as a cat 
tries to hide its young, carrying them about from one 
place to another. I put the other bloody things 
into the stove, and burnt them. 

" My only reason for murdering Reisinger and 
Seidel was desire for their clothes. I must confess that 
I did not want them ; but it was exactly as if some one 
stood at my elbow, saying, ' Do this and buy corn,' 


and whispered to me that I should thus get some- 
thing without risk of discovery." 

The sentence of breaking on the wheel from the 
feet upwards, which had been pronounced in accord- 
ance with the laws still in force, was commuted to be- 
heading. This was done, not for the sake of sparing 
the criminal, whose crimes deserved the extremest 
punishment, but out of regard to the moral dignity 
of the state, which ought not, as it were, to vie with 
a murderer in cruelty. 



JOHN CONRAD HOLZINGER, a Lutheran, was born in 
1790, at Ansbach, where he carried on the trade of a 
vintner. He possessed a couple of houses, mortgaged 
to half their value, an acre of land, and a wine shop, 
worth about 1200 florins. By his first wife he had four 

He was a tall strongly-made man, with a somewhat 
repulsive countenance. His health was equal to his 
muscular strength, and he had never suffered from any 
illness, although he frequently complained of determi- 
nation of blood to the head, and of nervous agitation. 
He had received the usual education of his class, and 
possessed a fair understanding ; he was cheerful, 
obliging, and ready to talk, which made him a gene- 
rally welcome guest. He was, however, subject to 
sudden but transient fits of passion, during which he 
frequently smashed the glasses and crockery, but had 
never been known to proceed to personal violence. 

His friends, relations, and servants were unanimous 
in their praises of the goodness of his heart. His maid- 
servants described him as " a kind-hearted man, who 
would not offend even a child ;" and his apprentice 
said that he was " an excellent fellow, who would do 
whatever he was asked," The district physician said 
the same thing, and asserted that Holzinger's wife had 


more than once described her husband as " a kind 
good man, from whom everything was to be got with 
proper management." This sort of praise is doubtful 
at best, and is generally bestowed upon those who are 
wanting in real moral worth, and whose easy good- 
nature is but the sign of a weak and yielding dispo- 

In Holzinger this facile temper was rendered still 
less estimable by being combined with unmanly 
cowardice, and worse than childish terrors. If any 
one opposed him with firmness he instantly sank into 
abject submissiveness, even in the midst of the most 
violent fits of anger. If roughly addressed, he started 
in affright. As a child he ran away when his comrades 
fought, and he did not dare to walk alone after dark in 
the fields, much less in a wood. A man not half his 
size once in jest pretended to attack him on meeting 
him in the dark, whereupon Holzinger ran away in 

Lastly, Holzinger was beyond measure licentious 
and inconstant. 

After his wife's death, which took place in June, 1818, 
her sister Christiana, the divorced* wife of a clergyman, 
a handsome woman of about thirty, undertook the di- 
rection of his household. The most intimate connection 
was soon formed between them, and Holzinger seriously 
intended to marry her. He passionately loved her, and 
became so accustomed to her society as never to be 
easy without her. He did nothing without first con- 
sulting her, and was completely under her dominion. 

* The reader must keep in mind that divorce a vinculo matri- 
monii is permitted by law in Protestant Germany for causes far 
lighter than those in which the English legislature interferes. A 
divorce, therefore, does not necessarily imply adultery. Transl. 


According to the testimony of the authorities, her 
conduct was blameless ; but those who knew her inti- 
mately spoke of her capricious and quarrelsome dispo- 
sition. Whenever Holzinger did anything to displease 
her ; if, for instance, he stayed too long at the public- 
house, or drank too freely, she reproached him in 
coarse and violent language. These misunderstand- 
ings did not, however, at all disturb the connection 
subsisting between them, and were always quickly 
over. Holzinger always gave way to her, and endea- 
voured to appease her anger by fair words and pro- 
mises of amendment. One of his common phrases 
was, " Christiana, are you fond of me ?" She gene- 
rally answered him with a kindly " Yes/' or with an 
impatient " What is the matter now ? Why should I 
not be fond of you .?" He scarcely ever addressed her 
without pressing her hand, or putting his arm round 
her neck in an affectionate manner. 

Although Christiana granted every favour to her 
lover, she steadily refused to give him her hand in 
marriage, declaring that she had determined once for 
all not to marry again. This arose perhaps from a 
desire to indulge her inclinations without restraint, or 
perhaps her penetration had detected under Holzin- 
ger's apparent good nature, qualities \\hich made her 
shrink from a more permanent union with him. 

Thus constantly refused by his mistress, Holzinger 
was compelled by his position as the father of a family 
and as a tradesman to look round for another wife, and 
when his connection with Christiana had lasted about 

six months, he selected a certain Johanna R of 

Weissenburg, a woman of forty, who had been twice 
married, and was then divorced from her second hus- 
band. This choice did not in the slightest degree 


interrupt the intimacy subsisting between Holzinger 
and Christiana. Everything was done by her advice, 
and it was agreed that the new marriage should not 
supersede the old love. Christiana was to stay and 
manage his household until after the wedding, when 
she was to return to her own home at Wassertriidingen, 
where her lover was to visit her regularly once a fort- 

Holzinger fetched his bride home from Weissenburg 
a week before the wedding-day, which was fixed for 
the 3rd of January, 1819. It is more easy to imagine 
than to describe what he must have felt on seeing this 
woman of forty or more, contrasted with Christiana 
who had rejected his suit, and on remembering that 
the former would remain while the latter would 
shortly leave him ; his passion for Christiana was 
now mingled with resentment against a woman who 
could first refuse the hand of her lover, and with per- 
fect indifference see him married to another. 

The hope of occasionally visiting Christiana was a 
poor satisfaction : he placed little confidence in her con- 
duct when absent from him, and foresaw that another 
lover would soon share his mistress with him, or per- 
haps entirely supplant him. Indeed, he thought that 
the favoured lover was already chosen, in the person 
of Carl Schulz, his future wife's nephew, a youth of 
twenty, who had accompanied his aunt to Ansbach. 
Christiana frequently talked with him, seemed greatly 
pleased with his company, and invited him to visit her 
at Wassertriidingen. Schulz became the object of vio- 
lent jealousy to Holzinger, who determined to get him 
out of Christiana's way. He accordingly endeavoured 
by marked incivility to force him to leave his house, 
even before the marriage. But to Holzinger's great 


annoyance Schulz stayed, and Christiana's manner 
towards him remained unaltered. 

Christiana rendered the evening before the wedding 
doubly painful to him by harsh behaviour, which, con- 
trasted with the attentions which she paid to young 
Schulz, increased his agitation, and entirely got the 
better of his usual patient good humour. Holzinger 
had been at the tavern from six to eight, when Chris- 
tiana wrote him an insulting note, in which she called 
him " a good for nothing drunken fellow," and desired 
him to come home immediately. The maid met him 
on his way thither, and gave him the note in the street. 
He read and then tore the letter in the presence of 
Christiana, who scolded and abused him the while. 
He endeavoured as usual to appease her by soft words 
and excuses, and was so much hurt as to shed tears ; 
but on her continuing to reproach him, he was seized 
with sudden fury, dashed a stone jug to pieces on the 
floor, cursed and swore, and tossed his arms wildly in 
the air. Christiana was ill-natured enough to repre- 
sent his conduct in the most hateful colours to the 
bride elect, whom she dissuaded, even at this stage of 
the affair, from marrying him. Holzinger saw in this 
a mark of the contempt and dislike with which he be- 
lieved that Christiana now looked upon him. 

At six o'clock on the following morning the 
wedding was celebrated in the presence of Christiana 
and other relations. After the ceremony they went to 
Holzinger's house, where they sat round a table drink- 
ing arrack, and all appeared to be in the best humour. 
The misunderstanding of the preceding day seemed 
entirely forgotten, and Christiana's manner to him be- 
tokened complete forgiveness and reconciliation. 


The forenoon passed without any unusual occur- 
rence. Holzinger appeared cheerful and good-hu- 
moured, but was observed to drink more than was his 
habit. Besides two glasses of arrack on returning 
from church, he drank beer and wine, and, according 
to the accounts given by his friends, was intoxicated 
before midday. Nevertheless, the quantity he had 
drunk was by no means sufficient to deprive him of 
reason ; he acted and talked like one excited by drink, 
but was perfectly aware of what he was about, and in 
full possession of all his faculties. 

At about one they dined : Holzinger ate nothing but 
some soup. After dinner, Christiana, who was bidden 
to a christening, sent for the hair-dresser, and when he 
arrived she took him by the arm, and went into the 
nursery to have her hair curled. 

Holzinger, whose jealous suspicions were roused, 
soon followed them, and, looking through the glass- 
door, saw the hair-dresser's arm round Christiana's 
waist. Holzinger burst into the room, gave the hair- 
dresser a violent box on the ear, and asked him what 
he was about. Christiana, enraged at his behaviour, 
abused him, calling him a coarse drunken fellow. He 
immediately left the room, and went down to the 
cellar to fetch some wine for the christening. While 
there he again drank some wine, and then returned to 
the dining-room, where he found Schulz, and with 
him Christiana smartly dressed for the christening. 
Holzinger went up to her, and putting his arm round 
her neck, as was his custom, said, " Come here, I 
have something to tell you." But she, who had not 
yet forgotten the scene with the hair-dresser, pushed 
him away, and left the room with the words, " Let me 


go ; you are an ill-conditioned drunkard ; I will have 
nothing more to say to you," Schulz observed no 
agitation, or anything unusual in Holzinger, who left 
the room soon after. 

" A few minutes after Holzinger had gone out of 
the room" these are Schulz's words " I heard a 
noise over head. I thought it might be Holzinger 
and Christiana, who had made up their quarrel and 
were romping. But before long, in the midst of the 
noise, I heard groans ; I ran upstairs, and on opening 
the door I saw Christiana lying on the floor. Hol- 
zinger was bending over her, in the act of cutting her 
throat with a knife he had in one hand, while with 
the other he held her chin, and the blood spouted up 
from her like a fountain. As I entered, Holzinger 
started up, and holding the bloody knife high over his 
head, exclaimed, ' I am the murderer of this harlot ! ' 
He then flung the knife upon the ground. I stood a 
short time aghast at the sight, and then ran down 
stairs and out of the house followed by Holzinger's 
wife, sister, and maid-servant, who had come into the 
room in the meantime. Holzinger followed us, bran- 
dishing the knife which he had again seized, and 
repeatedly exclaiming, ' I am the murderer of this 
harlot ! ' Christiana gave no sign of life : she had 
ceased from groaning, and her arms had sunk upon 
the floor." 

Holzinger, meanwhile, ran about the house and 
yard like a madman, accusing himself of the murder 
to every one, and lamenting the fate of his wife and 
children. When the physician, who had been sent 
for, arrived, Holzinger fell upon his knees in despair, 
and repeated his self-accusation, attributing his crime 


to sudden anger at Christiana's reproaches. He be- 
haved in the same manner before the police, adding 
that he had been driven to murder her by jealousy. 

On examination Christiana's throat was found to be 
cut almost from ear to ear, and the knife, which was 
one commonly used at table, was found concealed in 
the bed. It had been carried upstairs to cut the 
wedding cake. 

At his first examination Holzinger made a full con- 
fession in the following words : " I will confess every- 
thing of which I am conscious. I am well aware that 
I have committed a dreadful crime, but such a com- 
bination of circumstances urged me to it, that in the 
opinion of any unprejudiced person I must stand to a 
great degree excused. My heart is good, and I never 
in my life injured any one in cold blood." 

He then repeated what the reader already knows, 
adding that, after the scene with the hair-dresser, he 
had gone upstairs intending to reproach Christiana 
with her conduct. " She was very angry, and said, 
' You wicked man, I will make you burst with jealousy ; 
I have a good mind to stab you with this knife,' with 
these words she pointed to a common carving-knife 
which lay on the table beside the cake. At the same 
time she spat in my face. I was drunk, and in my rage 
lost all control over myself, and could no longer calcu- 
late the consequences of my actions. My sister-in-law 
struck me on the breast, upon which I snatched up the 
knife, and, throwing her on the floor, cut her throat. I 
was drunk, and so much enraged by Christiana's beha- 
viour, that I lost all command over myself, and was 
in such a state as not to be accountable for my actions. 
My sister-in-law was to blame for my drunkenness ; 


she made me drink half a bottle of arrack besides two 
bottles of wine and two quarts of beer." 

Holzinger, who cried and sobbed during the whole 
examination, did not seem to be aware that Christiana 
was dead, and asked with great emotion, whether she 
could not be saved by medical help. On being told 
that he was suspected of having drunk the wine and the 
arrack in order to increase his courage for the crime 
which he had determined beforehand to commit, he 
answered, " I had no evil intentions, and I loved my 
sister-in-law so dearly, that God knows I could never 
have harmed her on purpose." In the subsequent 
examination he again referred to the state of his mind 
when he committed the murder. " I was beside my- 
self; my body acted, but it was without the consent of 
my will. I behaved like a madman, and knew not 
what I was doing. I was not even aware that I held 
the knife in my hand, and it was not till my sister-in- 
law lay bleeding before me that I came to my senses. 
Had not the unlucky knife lain on the table I should 
not have been in this trouble." He did not know that 
Schulz had seen him in the act, nor did he remember 
hiding the knife. He denied all recollection of having 
seen his sister-in-law in the parlour, and of what took 
place there. He said that owing to the drunken state in 
which he then was he could remember nothing. 

Holzinger had in his confession insinuated so 
strongly and with so much ingenuity that at the time 
of the murder he was scarcely accountable for his 
actions, that the advocate charged with his defence 
founded his hopes of acquittal on this plea. But in 
order to ensure success it was necessary that the matter 
should be taken out of the province of legal jurisdic- 


tion, and referred to the medical faculty. Holzinger's 
advocate accordingly asserted " That his client's brain 
and nervous system were completely disorganised, and 
that he was in a state of raving madness when he com- 
mitted the murder." He therefore demanded a con- 
sultation of physicians. 

This was not properly a case for reference to a 
medical board, and the demand ought to have been 
refused. " In all cases," says Heinroth, " where the 
motive to the deed is evident, it is more than superfluous 
to consult the medical faculty. Nor can the assertion 
of the criminal, or the conjectures of the advocate 
that the deed was committed from blind impulse, or in 
the confusion of the moment, be a valid reason for 
medical examination, when the motives for the action 
are apparent." * In this case the motive was manifest 
according to his own confession, and the evidence of 
other competent witnesses. 

It was obvious that Holzinger had killed his sister- 
in-law in a fit of violent fury, excited by love and 
jealousy ; and the excuse that the gratification of these 
passions is a proof of deranged intellect, is inadmis- 
sible. Yet in endeavouring to show that he was not 
accountable for his actions, Holzinger could refer to 
no derangement of intellect save that arising from 
those very passions which impelled him to the deed. 
Among a hundred men who commit murder, man- 
slaughter, &c., there will be found scarce one who will 
not describe, and describe with perfect truth, his state 
during the commission of the crime as one of passing 

* Uber das falsche artzliche verfahren bei criminal gerichtlichen 
untersuchungen zweifelhafter Gemiithszustande. Hitzig Zeitschrift. 
1828, 1 vol. f. 125. 


madness. But the madness of passion and of crime 
cannot absolve a criminal of guilt either in law or in 
conscience, for it is a madness that does not begin 
until the criminal intention is already formed. 

But what proved beyond doubt that Holzinger 
was accountable for his actions was the fact that he 
gave the Court a connected and detailed account of 
the origin and growth of the passions which drove 
him to commit the crime, and of the state of his mind 
when he committed it, and entered into a minute ana- 
lysis of the derangement of his intellect, drawn from 
his own observation. Holzinger remembered what he 
had done, and knew that it was a crime. A madman, 
on the contrary, either rejoices in his deed, or speaks 
of it as an indifferent event, and, should his insanity 
leave him, the whole thing appears to him as a dream. 
That a madman should give an account of his mad- 
ness from his own sensations is as incredible as that a 
blind man should relate that which he has seen, or a 
deaf man that which he has heard. 

Nevertheless, the demand made by the advocate was 
conceded, and both the district physician and Holzin- 
ger's usual medical attendant were separately called 
upon for their opinions as to the state of his mind. 

The latter admitted that he had never perceived any 
symptoms of insanity in the prisoner either before or 
since the commission of his crime, and that although 
it was proved that both his mother and grandmother 
had for many years suffered from hypochondria, it 
could not thence be inferred that he was actually 
afflicted with the same disease, but only that, in all 
probability, he had a tendency towards it. This phy- 
sician, nevertheless, concluded his opinion by saying 

Y 2 


that Holzinger was deprived by drunkenness, by the 
passion of jealousy and by anger, of consciousness and 
self-controul, and that he was not a free and account- 
able agent when he committed the murder. The dis- 
trict physician, on the contrary, gave it as his opinion 
that there were no certain, or even probable, reasons 
for supposing that Holzinger's brain and nervous sys- 
tem were disorganised and himself insane at the time 
of the murder. 

In spite of this difference, however, the two opinions 
tended towards the same legal result ; both denied the 
existence of actual insanity in Holzinger's mind, and 
according to both he was accountable for the death of 
his sister-in-law. 

Nevertheless, the report of the case was sent for con- 
sideration to the College of Medicine, which, on the 20th 
of April, 1819, sent in a wordy and incoherent opinion, 
which concluded by saying " that at the time of the 
murder he was in a state of mental derangement, arising 
partly from violent passion, and partly from latent here- 
ditary tendencies, which made him irresponsible for his 

According to this opinion, then, the innocent and 
unfortunate prisoner ought to have been fully ac- 
quitted nor was there in it anything which could 
even justify his confinement in a madhouse for the 
sake of public security ; for the Medical College itself 
admitted that he had been in the full possession of his 
reason during the whole course of his life, with the 
sole exception of a few moments, during which he went 
mad in order to murder his sister-in-law, after which 
he immediately returned to his usual health and sanity. 

One of the arguments used by the Medical College 


to prove Holzinger's insanity was, that he committed 
the murder in a place, at a time, and under circum- 
stances which none but a madman would have chosen 
According to this then, every man who suffers himself 
to be impelled by passion to commit crimes which he 
has not carefully planned beforehand, is a madman. 

Again, the college strongly insisted on the fact, that 
after seizing the knife, Holzinger remembered nothing 
more. Now, even if Holzinger actually made such a 
statement the truth of it might very fairly be ques- 
tioned, but his own words were as follows : " I could 
no longer command myself, and do not know what I 
did while in that condition; I only remember thus 
much, that I snatched up a knife which lay upon the 
table, seized my sister-in-law, threw her upon the floor, 
and cut her throat." 

Among the arguments by which the Medical Col- 
lege sought to establish the fact of the prisoner's in- 
sanity, it adduced the prisoner's seeming ignorance of 
his sister-in-law's death up to the moment when the 
body was shown to him in Court, contrasted with his 
frantic behaviour after the deed, and his loud and public 
self-accusations. Far from being a psychological phe- 
nomenon, this was the mere invention of a criminal 
who from the very beginning artfully endeavoured 
to represent himself as irresponsible for his actions. 
After the murder Holzinger twice returned to the room 
where Christiana lay weltering in her blood ; he told 
his household that he had killed her, and when the 
physicians arrived he showed them the corpse himself, 
but expressed no hope that her life could possibly be 
saved. Unless, then, his subsequent ignorance of her 
death was, as we believe, affected, we must suppose 


that he was sane immediately after committing the 
murder, and was afterwards seized with a monomania, 
under the influence of which he believed the murdered 
woman to be still living, and entertained hopes of her 
recovery, while on every other subject he was in the 
full possession of his faculties. 

As the foregoing medical opinions failed to establish 
the fact which they were intended to prove, and were 
directly at variance with experience and common 
sense ; as, moreover, they contained every defect 
which deprives a medical opinion of legal authority,* 
and as the deed itself was fully proved, the Court was 
now called upon to decide whether the prisoner was 
guilty of murder or only of manslaughter. 

The following circumstances appeared to indicate a 
murderous intention : In the first place, Holzinger 
did not kill his sister-in-law by a single blow, stab, or 
shot, as is usually the case in a completely unpreme- 
ditated murder committed in sudden anger. A certain 
degree of preparation was necessary, and her resistance 
had to be overcome before her death could be effected ; 
and though these actions occupied a very short space 
of time, that was sufficient to throw a suspicion of 
design upon him. It also looked suspicious that Hol- 
zinger excused his unusual drunkenness on the day of 
the murder by falsely stating that every day since 
Schulz's arrival he had drunk enough to intoxicate 
himself, in the hope of dispelling his jealous vexation. 
No less so is the forgetfulness which he professed of 
the scene in the parlour, when on endeavouring to con- 
ciliate Christiana, he was repulsed by her with hard 
words, and immediately after which he followed her 

* Art. 264, Nos. 3, 4, Part II., of the ' Strafgesetzbuch.' 


into the upper room, and there murdered her. One is 
naturally led to the supposition that this forgetfulness 
was affected by the prisoner, that this very scene de- 
termined him to commit the murder, and that he fol- 
lowed her up-stairs with that intention. His account 
of her behaviour to him, of her striking him, spitting 
in his face, and threatening to stab him, seemed, to say 
the least, exaggerated, and, moreover, he made no men- 
tion of any such provocations until some time after the 
murder the only motives he at first assigned were 
jealousy and resentment of her reproaches. 

These arguments were counterbalanced by others of 
equal weight. A premeditated murder is generally 
committed secretly, so that the very publicity of Hol- 
zinger's crime renders it highly probable that the idea 
first occurred to him when he had reached the upper 
room, and that it was executed in the heat of the 
moment: it is also certain that Holzinger followed 
Christiana unarmed, and used no weapon but the 
knife which accident threw in his way. His beha- 
viour after committing the deed, his wild despair and 
loud lamentations over his dead mistress, were an addi- 
tional confirmation of the supposition that the murder 
was unpremeditated. 

These last-mentioned arguments outweighed the 
preceding ones in the judgment of the Court, and 
Holzinger was accordingly found guilty of manslaugh- 
ter on the person Christiana R . 

The proper punishment for manslaughter is impri- 
sonment in the house of correction for an unlimited 
time ; * but this may be shortened to twelve or even to 
eight years, if the deceased had provoked the attack 
* Art. 157, Part I., of the ' Strafgesetzbuch.' 


by extraordinary insults, or if the deed was committed 
in a state of drunkenness. In Holzinger's case both 
these excuses obtained, in consideration of which he 
was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment in the 
house of correction. 

On the 2nd December 1816, Holzinger was con- 
veyed to the fortress of Lichtenau, where he was treated 
with unusual indulgence. He had some years before 
lost the use of one eye from a shot, which procured 
for him from the surgeon a certificate to the effect that 
he could not be employed in the work usually imposed 
upon the prisoners, without endangering his sight. He 
enjoyed as much liberty as is consistent with confine- 
ment within the walls of the fortress, and was employed 
only in easy tasks. His punishment, in fact, consisted 
only in the ignominy attached to it, and this he seemed 
to feel as little as he felt remorse. He accosted his 
fellow-citizens who came to visit the prison without the 
slightest shame, either for his crime, or for his prison 

Holzinger's conduct while in the house of correc- 
tion was, however, so good in all other respects, that 
at the end of six years, when three-fourths of his term 
of imprisonment had expired, he obtained his dis- 
charge, on the favourable report of the governor of the 

The governor described him as a man of limited 
intellect and defective education, physically and mo- 
rally enfeebled by dissolute habits. Six years' residence 
amongst criminals had done more to harden and 
degrade, than the punishment had done to amend him. 

Holzinger came back amongst his fellow-citizens 
* Art. 12, 13, Part L, of the Strafgesetzbuck' 


thoroughly indifferent to his crime, which he looked 
upon as a matter completely settled, and with which 
his conscience had nothing further to do. He unblush- 
ingly forced himself into the society of his fellow- 
citizens, and even delighted in turning the conversation 
upon his deed, in order to show how little it weighed 
upon his mind. He considered that a few years' im- 
prisonment had completely cleansed him from all 

The trial and imprisonment had utterly ruined him, 
and he was forced to maintain himself by driving a 
hired carriage (Lohnkutsche). His wife died during 
his imprisonment, and he was now at liberty to follow 
his inclinations. He was scarcely out of prison before 
he formed a violent attachment to a certain Rosina 
Ott, a well-conducted girl of five-and-twenty. From 
love towards the daughter he lodged with the mother, 
who was a washerwoman, and by unceasing attentions 
and apparent good humour, he succeeded not only in 
overcoming her repugnance to a one-eyed murderer, 
but even in gaining her affections. Rosina Ott was 
endeared to him by the very labour it had cost him to 
win her, and he soon gave fatal proof how fierce a pas- 
sion for her had taken possession of him. 

Rosina was penniless ; a marriage with her was, 
therefore, out of the question. As Holzinger wanted 
money, he sought and obtained in marriage a woman 
of nine-and-thirty, named Margaret Heimstadt, who 
possessed 600 florins; no inconsiderable sum for a 
man in his circumstances. He now thought that he 
had so arranged matters as to gain from a wife what 
was wanting; in the mistress, while the mistress would 

O ' 

be to him what the wife could never become. This, 


however, rested upon the supposition that his wife 
would allow him to frequent Rosina, and that the 
mother of the latter would suffer her daughter's con- 
nection with the husband of another woman. In both 
these expectations Holzinger was disappointed. Mar- 
garet Heimstadt, who had lived with him as his wife 
ever since the banns had first been published in church, 
and had already surrendered the greater part of her 
property to him, forbade him all further communication 
with Rosina Ott. On the other hand Rosina's mother 
interdicted him from any future intercourse with her 
daughter. As Holzinger paid no attention to the 
commands of his betrothed wife or of Rosina's mother, 
they both went before a magistrate at Ansbach, where 
they met though without previous concert the latter 
to claim protection against Holzinger's importunities 
to her daughter, the former to break off the marriage, 
and forbid the third publication of the banns. Matters 
were, however, privately arranged by the mediation of 
their mutual friends. Holzinger promised his future 
wife that he would give up all connection with Rosina, 
whereupon she consented to retract her declaration 
with regard to the publication of the banns. 

The banns were accordingly published for the third 
and last time on Sunday, 18th February 1827, and 
Holzinger now found himself in the same predicament 
as on the 3rd January 1819. On the one hand a 
middle-aged woman with whom he must live without 
affection, on the other a far younger woman, whom he 
passionately loved, and whom he was forced to resign. 
His bridal day eight years before had been marked by 
the death of his beloved Christiana, and now the festive 
Sunday was destined to be celebrated in a like manner. 


On the evening of the 18th February it was ru- 
moured in the town of Ansbach that Holzinger had 
killed Rosina Ott by a pistol shot. The aunt of the 
unfortunate girl, who was an eye witness of the murder, 
hastened to inform the police of it. The corpse was 
found lying in the snow close to a shed in a field just 
beyond the suburbs ; the clothes were still burning in 
places, and the fragments of a pistol which had been 
discharged and then broken, and the lock of which 
was covered with blood and human hair, were found 
close by. 

Holzinger had been in the habit of visiting Rosina 
at her aunt's house after her mother had forbidden him 
her own. On the 18th Februarv he went to this aunt 


and told her that his wife suspected his meetings with 
Rosina, and watched him accordingly, so that he could 
no longer meet her at the usual place, but that he 
must have a last interview with his mistress, to whom 
he wished to present a small farewell gift on taking- 
leave of her. He, therefore, requested that she would 
meet him in the evening at a place outside the town. 
Rosina, on being informed by her aunt of his request, 
likewise begged to be allowed this last interview, 
adding that after this " she would have nothing more 
to say to Holzinger," Her aunt went with her at 
half-past five to the appointed place, where they found 
Holzinger waiting for them. The aunt said that 
" their meeting was quite that of two lovers. He 
kissed and pressed her in his arms, saying, Mine 
you are, and mine you must be.' ' 

On their way home, as they approached the town, 
Holzinger desired the aunt to leave them, as he wished 
to give the present which he had brought for Rosina 


to her alone. At first she refused, and even Rosina 
did not seem to like the idea of being left alone with 
Holzinger. At length, however, she gave way, and 
Holzinger and Rosina walked towards the open fields. 

The aunt pretended to remain behind, but from dis- 
trust of Holzinger she followed the loving couple, and 
saw them ascend a hillock. She presently heard loud 
talking, and Rosina's voice exclaiming in a tone of dis- 
tress. She hurried up the hill, calling out in alarm, 
Rosina, Rosina ! " Oh, aunt," answered the girl, " he 
is going to shoot me ! " At the same moment he fired, 
and Rosina fell to the ground. The aunt not only saw 
the flash and heard the report, but distinctly saw Hol- 
zinger take aim at Rosina. She screamed aloud at the 
sight, whereupon Holzinger turned towards her, and 
called out in a threatening voice, " If you cry out I 
will serve you the same." This frightened her so 
much that she ran away. 

After, as it would seem, completing his deed by 
shattering the head and face of his mistress with the 
butt end of his pistol, Holzinger went to the village 
of Schalkhausen, about two miles from Ansbach. He 
got there at about ten o'clock, and went into a tavern 
where he seated himself at a table in a distant and 
dark corner, saying that he had come from Langenfeld 
by a very bad road, asked for a quart of beer, which 
he drank in two or three draughts, then for a glass of 
brandy, then another quart of beer, and finally for 
a bed. The host, to whom such a guest was not very 
welcome, advised him to go on to the town of Ansbach, 
but he said that he was very tired, had drunk too much, 
and that the cold was so intense that he was afraid he 
might be frozen to death if he went any farther so late 


at night. The host accordingly gave him a room up- 
stairs, to which Holzinger retired, carrying with him a 
third quart of beer. On the following morning, at nine 
o'clock, Holzinger had not made his appearance, and 
the host sent his daughter upstairs to look after him. 
She returned, saying, that she had peeped through the 
key-hole, and had seen the stranger standing by the 
window. At eleven o'clock the host went upstairs 
himself, and on opening the door he saw to his horror 
that his guest had hung himself on the iron handles 
of the upper window, and that he was already dead. 

The host immediately gave information of the event 
to the proper authorities, who at once repaired to the 
spot. On examination it appeared that Holzinger had 
attempted t'o cut his throat, and also to stab himself, 
but it was evident from the appearance of the wounds 
that the instrument with which he had inflicted them, 
and which could nowhere be found, was too blunt, and 
that failing in his endeavours, he had ended by hanging 
himself with his braces. Holzinger had by his suicide 
escaped the sword of the executioner, from which, in 
this instance, not even the physicians could have 
saved him. 

This time there could be no doubt that both the 
murder and the suicide were premeditated. Holzinger 
had betrothed himself with a woman who was not only 
indifferent, but even disagreeable to him, for the sake 
of her money, of which he had already received and 
spent the greater part. This woman's jealousy, and 
the determination of Rosina's mother to suffer no in- 
tercourse between her daughter and a married man, 
at once frustrated the scheme by which Holzinger had 
hoped to combine the pleasures of love and avarice. 


When Holzinger had been summoned before the ma- 
gistrate at the suit of Rosina's mother, and forbidden 
all further communication with the daughter, he, 
nevertheless, went to her house, and when she refused 
to admit him, he said with a threatening voice and 
gesture, " You have played me a pretty trick ; but I 
don't care for the magistrate, and you shall see that 
Rosina will be mine in spite of you." 

Six days later the real meaning of these words was 
explained. While he was leading Rosina to death he 
pressed her in his arms, saying, " Mine you are, and 
mine you must be." 



ON the 17th of July, 1809, the Jew Parnas Samuel 
informed the court at Harburg, in the principality of 
Wallerstein in Bavaria, that Joseph Samuel Landauer 
had gone the day before to Briinnsee, and that, con- 
trary to his usual custom, he had not returned home. 
David Levi, his servant, and Andrew Bonlander had 
gone out to seek him, and had at last found him near 
the old castle of Wollwarth quite stiff and cold. The 
unfortunate man had been conveyed to Harburg, where 
the physician pronounced him to be dead. 

On inspecting the corpse on the following day, great 
part of the skull and brow were found to be beaten in, 
and the nose and upper jaw broken ; but no injuries 
were discovered on any other parts of the body, except- 
ing on the third finger of the left hand, the middle joint 
of which was broken and the skin abrased. The phy- 
sicians pronounced the injuries quite sufficient to cause 
death, and conjectured them to have been inflicted with 
a large stone weighing above six pounds, which was 
found on the spot covered with hair and blood. 

On the very same day distinct traces of the murderer 
were discovered. It seemed that the murdered man 
had been seen, on the afternoon on which he was mur- 


dered, at the house of a certain Caspar Frisch. One 
George Keck had seen a man prowling about the castle 
of Wollwarth soon after, and had recognised him by 
his lameness to be Caspar Frisch, who was crooked and 
always walked with a stick. This same witness saw 
another person, whom he did not know, go to this spot 
about the same time, and perceived from a distance 
that two persons were beating a third. A young girl 
of about thirteen, who also witnessed the struggle from 
a distance, spoke of these two persons one wearing a 
black smock frock and a peasant's hat, the other a 
white frock and a black cap. She also heard the man 
whom they had beat groaning for some time after. 

They found on the murdered man two acknowledg- 
ments of debt, signed by Caspar Frisch, relating chiefly 
to some transaction about a watch. His widow made the 
following statement concerning Frisch. That " about 
ten days previous to the murder, he came to their 
house and told her husband that he had buried his 
savings some years ago, and for a long time had been 
unable to find the spot. But that lately as he was 
going to bury something else he had accidentally dis- 
covered the first money, consisting of Bavarian kreut- 
zers, which, after paying his debts, he wished to ex- 
change. Frisch then appointed her husband to meet 
him on the following Sunday, the 16th July, and to 
bring with him some money and two watches which 
he wished to buy. He also charged him to say nothing 
of all this to his cousins, who would otherwise want the 
money to pay their debts with. Her husband at first 
thought the whole affair suspicious, but as Frisch pro- 
tested that he had earned the money by honest labour 
he was at last induced to go to meet him on the ap- 


pointed day, and to take with him a large sum of money 
and two silver watches, one of which was a repeater." 

The court immediately summoned Frisch and his 
cousins with whom he lived to appear before it, but 
only as witnesses. Frisch stated as follows : " The 
murdered man came to me at one o'clock, partly in 
order to bring a couple of watches which he had sold 
me a week before, and partly to fetch a saucepan lid. 
About two years before I had bought two silver 
watches of the Jew for ninety-six florins, which I 
had agreed to pay in six instalments. I had paid 
a part of this debt, but not all, as I had never been 
able to find a sum of two hundred florins which I had 
buried about five years since during the French inva- 
sion. I most unexpectedly found this sum about a 
fortnight ago while I was new laying the threshold of 
the old shed, and immediately went to the Jew and 
offered to pay him the remainder of his debt. On 
this occasion the Jew proposed to sell me two watches 
which he then wore, and we agreed that the Jew was 
to take back the w r atches which he had formerly sold 
me, and to let me have the two others in exchange 
upon payment of an additional sum of thirty-six 
florins. The Jew came to me yesterday to settle .the 
matter : everything was done as we had agreed, and 
the Jew then changed what little money was left for 
twelve-kreutzer pieces. All this was done in about 
twenty minutes, after which the Jew went away. I 
stayed at home for a short time, and then went to 
several places and talked with different persons, from 
whom I heard that three people had been fighting up 
at the old castle." 

At the conclusion of his examination the judge asked 


him how he got the scratches upon his face, which 
looked as though they had been made by some one's 
nails. He answered that he had got the scratch 
over his eye on Saturday, while thatching his cousin's 
house, and that those about his mouth had been done 
in shaving. 

This evidence was thought sufficient to warrant 
Frisch's provisional imprisonment. 

A number of suspicious circumstances soon ap- 
peared against him. Several witnesses were examined 
as to whether they had seen the scratches on his face 
on the Saturday or on the Sunday morning : some 
said they could not remember, but the greater number 
confidently asserted that at that time there were no 
such marks upon his face. The wife of a certain 
Schwerdberger stated that Frisch had come to her 
while her husband was out, at about six o'clock in the 
afternoon of Sunday, the day of the murder, and, 
on entering the house, said that his legs trembled so 
violently and he was so tired, that he must beg her to 
give him a glass of water. She then observed that 
there were fresh and bleeding scratches upon his face. 
On asking him the cause of them, he told her that he 
had been in the wood to catch squirrels, and had 
fallen from a tree and scratched his face with the 
prickly leaves of a fir-tree. Another witness stated 
that " Frisch had been with him on that very Sunday, 
at one o'clock, when he observed no marks on his face ; 
but that at six o'clock, when Frisch again called upon 
him, he saw the scratches, and said to him, * You, too, 
must have been fighting up at the old castle, to get so 
scratched.' But he denied this, and again attributed 
the marks to a fall while trying to catch squirrels." 


Finally, the physician who examined his face declared 
that the wounds were evidently produced by a man's 
nails, and added that on the prisoner's left hand, more 
especially on the middle finger, there were similar 
wounds, inflicted beyond doubt with the nails. 

Such strong grounds for suspicion induced the court 
to have Frisch brought before it for special exami- 
nation on the 19th of July, that is, four days after the 
murder. It would be useless to recapitulate all the 
lies and contradictions in which he persisted during 
the first examination ; but scarce had he returned to 
his cell when he demanded a fresh audience, and con- 
fessed his guilt. 

Caspar Frisch, a Protestant, was at this time five and 
twenty ; his mother had been dead about seven years, 
but his father was living and had married a second 
wife. Frisch could not live with his step-mother, who 
was a well-conducted but severe and violent woman, 
and who made greater demands on her step-son's in- 
dustry than he was either able or willing to satisfy. 
Frisch's right leg was quite stiff, his loins were para- 
lysed, and four of the fingers of his right hand wanted 
a joint. He could only walk with the assistance 
of a stick, and was unable to perform common field 
labour. To make up for this he was very expert in 
wood-carving and in all kinds of work that did not 
require much exertion. The incessant contention be- 
tween his step-mother and himself drove him to seek 
refuge with his cousins, who willingly received him. 
He served them as well as his deformity permitted 
him, as a carter, and in repairing the house and the 
outhouses, and in his leisure hours earned a little 
money by his carvings. His cousins were always 



indulgent towards him ; and his neighbours had no 
serious fault to find with him. The prominent defect 
of his character was vanity, and a desire to outshine 
his fellows in dress and trinkets. In these he sought 
some compensation for the deformity with which 
nature had afflicted him. As he could not please by 
his person, he wished to do so by the splendour of his 
exterior. His crippled body rendered him an object 
of pity or contempt ; but he endeavoured by dress and 
ornament to turn the scorn of his associates into envy. 

More than a year before, he had bought of the Jew, 
Joseph Samuel Landauer, first one silver watch, then 
another, a silver hat-buckle and a silver watch-chain, 
for which he owed him one hundred and thirty-two 
florins. This sum greatly exceeded his means, but the 
possession of such ornaments was so tempting, and the 
term of payment so distant, as to silence all doubts and 
fears. Frisch could not, however, always pay the in- 
stalments when they became due, and the thought 
would then occur to him that the Jew had cheated 
him, and had asked more, than the things were worth. 

About a fortnight before the murder he saw in the 
Jew's possession a silver repeater, which took his fancy. 
The Jew offered to exchange it against his old watch 
and four carolins. Frisch returned home with his head 
full of this new temptation, and of the old debt. " The 
repeater is so handsome! I cannot pay for it; and the 
Jew is a cheat." Such were the ideas which filled his 
mind, and which soon suggested to him a contrivance 
for getting rid of the debt without paying it, and for 
becoming at the same time the happy possessor of the 
two new watches : the Jew was to be induced to 
bring both watches to Frisch's house ; and, under pre- 


tence of payment, to be persuaded to accompany 
him to the old castle, where he would pretend to 
have buried his money and there the Jew was to be 
murdered. Frisch declared that his conscience was 
disturbed, and that he could neither sleep, eat, nor 
drink during the whole week. This did not, how- 
ever, alter his determination. He heard an owl hoot 
one night, and thought that it was intended as a 
warning to him ; but he only said, " Hoot as much as 
you will, you carrion ; I will do it spite of all your 
hooting." The scheme, engendered by covetousness, 
fed by pecuniary embarrassment, and strengthened 
by the idea that Landauer had cheated him, found a 
powerful apology in his contempt for the Jewish race. 
" He is but a Jew ! there is no harm done : what 
business had he to charge so much and to take away 
all my money ?" 

About a week before the murder, Frisch went to the 
Jew's house and told him that he had at length found 
the money which he had buried in the shed in 1805, 
when the French entered Germany, and that he would 
now pay his debt, and give ready money down for the 
repeater. The Jew then produced not only the repeater, 
but another small watch besides, which he praised 
excessively, telling him that it was a most excellent 
watch, so good a one, that if he bought it, he would 
thank him for it all his life : that there were not two 
other such watches in all the country round. He 
agreed to purchase the repeater, and also a larger and 
flatter watch, instead of the other, but at the same price, 
Frisch made an appointment with the Jew for the fol- 
lowing Sunday afternoon, when the one was to receive 
the watches and the other the monev. 


The Jew came as appointed at about one P.M., when 
Frisch's cousins were from home, bringing with him 
the two watches. He desired Frisch to give him a 
written assurance to the effect that the money was 
really his, and the same which he had formerly buried. 
The Jew then demanded payment of his debt, but 
Frisch told him that the money was concealed up in 
the old castle between two rocks, and that he must go 
with him to get it. This was in itself suspicious, and 
directly at variance with Frisch's former statement, 
according to which the money was buried in the shed. 
Nevertheless, the simple Jew, infatuated by love of 
gain, merely exclaimed, " What ! upon the hill ! only 
think !" and went on his way thither. He sat down 
beside the stream at the foot of the hill to wash his 
feet while waiting for Caspar Frisch, who went up 
the other side of the castle hill, and beckoned to the 
Jew, whom he saw sitting below, to come up. The 
Jew, eager to possess the money, ran up, repeatedly ex- 
claiming, " Caspar, where is it? where is it, Caspar?" 
In answer to this question Frisch led him to a spot 
where three fragments of rocks formed a sort of cavern, 
in which he told him that the money was buried. 
Frisch now began to tremble in every limb. He was 
himself astonished at the blindness of the Jew in not 
taking alarm at his strange demeanour. At length 
Frisch stooped to the ground, and began to remove 
some stones; but he soon ceased, saying that it hurt 
his crippled fingers, and that the Jew must kneel 
down and scrape out the earth and stones himself. 
The Jew complied, and while he was busily employed 
in clearing away the stones, and thinking of nothing 
but the treasure which was soon to appear, Frisch 


snatched up a stone, weighing, as he said, about three 
pounds, and with it struck the Jew on the head as 
hard as he could. His victim fell backwards, but 
quickly recovered himself, and attacked his murderer, 
striking at his face, and exclaiming in a broken voice 
" Caspar, let me go ! " Frisch now seized him by 
the body, or, as he afterwards said, by the leg, threw 
him down and fell upon him. Even then the Jew, 
who was undermost, struggled hard for his life, and 
would have overpowered Frisch, had not the latter got 
one finger of the Jew's left hand between his teeth, 
thus depriving him of the use of the hand. The stones 
which lay scattered around afforded ready instruments 
of murder. Frisch struck the wretched man about the 
head and brow ; and although at each blow the stone 
dropped from his crippled hand, he quickly seized 
another, and continued the attack. He gave the Jew 
ten or eleven blows, until his head was crushed, and 
Frisch perceived that he was dying : he then robbed 
the dying man of his watches and money and left 

The accused repeatedly confessed the deed as it has 
now been related. As his confession agreed with the 
circumstances stated by the witnesses, and was perfectly 
consistent in itself, it needs no further comment. 

There was, however, one difficulty which must be 
noticed. The accused asserted that he committed the 
murder alone. It, however, seemed incredible that a 
feeble cripple who could scarce walk without the 
help of a stick should have overpowered a strong 
man in the full use of his limbs. This doubt was 
further increased by the statement of two witnesses, 
John Keck and Anna Vogt, who affirmed that they 


had seen two men attacking a third. But when we 
consider the rapidity of the motions of those engaged 
in conflict, one while struggling on the ground, at 
another standing ; and moreover, that the witnesses saw 
the fight from a considerable distance, it appears very 
probable that they may have been deceived. Another 
witness, John Low, who first called Keek's attention to 
the contest, stoutly maintained that he had seen only 
two persons ; moreover, Keck refused to repeat his 
statement as to three people, on oath. The doubt 
arising from the disproportion in bodily strength be- 
tween the murderer and his victim vanishes when we 
consider that the first blow fell upon the Jew unawares, 
and apparently stunned him : that fear often paralyses 
the strong, while passion bestows unwonted strength 
and activity upon the weak. Finally, there was not 
the slightest clue that could lead to the discovery of 
this third person, and it is not conceivable that Frisch, 
who might gain much, and could lose nothing, by 
giving him up, should take the whole blame upon 
himself, and persist in the assertion, frequently and 
solemnly repeated, that he had no accomplice. 

The district court, and subsequently the central court 
of appeal at Munich, found Frisch guilty of robbery 
and murder, and sentenced him to be beheaded. 

According to the strict letter of the law, he should 
have been broken on the wheel, but the openness of 
his confession induced the judges to award the milder 

There were no reasons for recommending the ac- 
cused to the royal mercy. He endeavoured to excuse 
himself as follows : 

" I could never get rid of the idea that the Jew had 


overreached me : but I always intended to satisfy his 
demands. It was not until one day when I was at work 
in the shed that it suddenly occurred to me to murder 
the Jew, and thus to free myself from my debt. I 
could never shake off this thought, which constantly 
troubled and disturbed me. After the first blow I 
repented, and the Jew might have escaped if he had 
but gone away, or asked me during our struggle to 
let him go; besides, I could not have pursued him. 
But when the Jew attacked me, I thought he would 
do to me what I had intended to do by him." 

This apology affords no excuse or even palliation 
of his crime. The trouble and confusion which he 
described must arise in every mind during the contest 
between desire for any object and the scruples of 
conscience. The repentance to which he alluded must 
have been slight indeed, for he confessed that after the 
first blow the Jew did actually entreat him to spare 
his life. Nevertheless he again threw him on the 
ground, and completed the murder. Assuming even 
that Frisch, according to his own statement, killed 
the Jew outright only in self-defence, no apology can 
be made for his crime, as he struck the first blow 
with a murderous intent. 



AT about three o'clock in the afternoon, on the 26th of 
June, 1821, the magistrate Elsperger, of Ratisbon, left 
his court in the town-hall to take his evening walk. 
He was crossing the market-place, when he was met 
by the shoemaker Ludwig Steiner, carrying a piece of 
leather under his arm. Several bystanders saw that 
an angry discussion took place between them : Els- 
perger raised his stick against Steiner ; some persons 
even asserted that he struck him with it ; whereupon 
Steiner drew a pistol from his pocket, and fired at the 
magistrate, who fell to the earth. The murderer re- 
placed the pistol in his pocket with a contemptuous 
air, and walked slowly past the astonished spec- 
tators until he reached the corner of a street, when, 
after once looking back at the dead body, he ran 
towards his own house, which the report of his crime 
had reached before him. He told his apprentices that 
he had shot the magistrate Elsperger, laid down the 
piece of leather in the shop, and hastily left the room, 
in order, as he said, to give himself up to justice. 
Before, however, he could leave the house, he was 
seized by a bricklayer, and after a violent but in- 
effectual struggle, was delivered by him into the 
custody of two police Serjeants. To these men he said, 


" I have accomplished my purpose, and my conscience 
is now clear : I have long pursued him." He quietly 
suffered himself to be taken to the police-office, where 
two pistols were found in his pocket : the prisoner 
himself warned the police that one was loaded, " lest 
any one should be hurt." He said to the police ser- 
jeant Speiser, who handcuffed and conducted him to 
prison, " Elsperger utterly ruined me ; he made me 
miserable ; and at last I have revenged my wrongs on 

Steiner's demeanour was that of a man who had the 
most perfect conviction of having performed a glorious 
deed. On seeing the crowd assembled before the 
window of his prison, he changed his position, saying, 
" I must turn about in order that the people may see 
me ; for although many know me by name, all do not 
yet know me by sight." 

The wounded man, who had instantly fallen speech- 
less on the pavement, was carried to the nearest police 
station, where he died within ten minutes after he was 
shot. The bullet had penetrated the brain, so that there 
could be no doubt as to the cause of his death. When 
Steiner was brought into the presence of the corpse, 
he showed not the slightest emotion, and merely ob- 
served, " That is the magistrate Elsperger, of this 
place." He signed the papers which were presented 
to him with a firm hand, and in his first examination 
confessed that he had done the deed. 

At the time of the murder Ludwig Steiner was fifty- 
three years of age : he was born of Catholic parents at 
Alpendorf, in the province of Glatz, in Silesia, and 
had been settled for many years as a master shoemaker 
at Ratisbon. He had been twice married, but had no 


children. He was of the middle size, thin, pale, and 
of a nervous excitable temperament. His fellow- 
citizens described him as an honourable man, a peace- 
able good citizen, a skilful workman, and an active 
orderly tradesman, who contrived to make a good 
living out of a moderate business, and still employed 
a few apprentices, notwithstanding his business had 
lately declined owing to various causes. Even as an 
apprentice he despised the common Sunday amuse- 
ments of his companions, and passed his leisure hours 
in reading : he set great value on his good name, and 
had a very strong sense of honour and justice. 

In the year 1817 the shoemakers' guild of Ratisbon 
was split into rival factions on occasion of the election 
of a master. Steiner took the part of one whom he 
thought unjustly oppressed, and in a quarrel with the 
leader of the opposite party so far forgot himself in his 
zeal, as to accuse his opponent of a theft in the pre- 
sence of the whole guild. An action for defamation 
was brought against Steiner, who was condemned on 
the 30th of September, 1818, to make an apology to 
the man whom he had insulted, to twenty-four hours' 
imprisonment, and to costs. This sentence, against 
which he appealed, was confirmed on the 25th of 
November of the same year, and Elsperger was the 
magistrate who had to pronounce judgment, and to 
see it carried into execution. Meanwhile Steiner was 
fully convinced of the righteousness of his own cause. 
His self-love explained a sentence so much at variance 
with his own convictions and so injurious to his pride 
by the supposition that the real papers on which the 
judgment should have been founded must have been 
suppressed, and false ones substituted for them. When, 


therefore, the judgment confirming the first sentence 
was made known to him on the 8th of December, he 
announced his intention of appealing to the central 
court at Munich. Notwithstanding his eager repre- 
sentations, the magistrate Elsperger would not allow 
of any delay, but at once proceeded to carry the judg- 
ment into execution. Steiner then begged for permis- 
sion at least to return home before his imprisonment 
that he might set his house in order, and cut out 
work for his apprentices ; but Elsperger with, per- 
haps, unnecessary severity, denied this trifling favour, 
and sent him at once to prison. Steiner came out of 
prison sick in body, and still more disordered in mind 
by the injury done to his pride, to his good name, 
and to what he considered his just rights. He main- 
tained then, and afterwards, that he had undergone 
excruciating torments from the pestiferous smell of the 
prison, and the overheating of a stove. This, or more 
likely his excitable imagination, tended not a little to 
confirm his belief of the injustice sustained in his per- 
son, arid to increase his bitter animosity against the 
magistrate whose duty it had been to pass judgment 
upon him. But the worst was yet to come : the 
apology was still due. " The apology which I had to 
make," said Steiner, " hurt my feelings most of all. I 
had to apologize against my own perfect conviction, 
whereas no apology was due ; for I had seen with my 
own eyes the master shoemaker do the very things of 
which I accused him." Elsperger had also to see this 
part of the sentence carried into execution ; but sum- 
monses, admonitions, and fines were ineffectual for 
some months. Steiner undertook a journey to Munich 
in order to obtain a revision of his sentence, at any 


rate of that part which related to the apology : he 
came back to Ratisbon after a fruitless journey, but 
still obstinately refused to obey the orders of the court. 
At length, however, when threatened with a fine of six 
reichs thalers, he was induced to deliver into Elsper- 
ger's hands an apology written by his attorney. From 
that time forward Elsperger became the object of his 
deadly hate, and he determined either to obtain com- 
plete satisfaction for all that he had endured, by an 
appeal to the law, or to murder Elsperger in revenge 
for the unnecessary harshness and contemptuous 
insolence with which, as Steiner imagined, he had 
carried an unjust sentence into execution. 

Henceforth he thought of nothing but his cause. 
His head could only contain the idea of the sentence, 
and of the means of obtaining a reversal of it, com- 
pensation for his losses, and satisfaction for the injus- 
tice he had suffered. These thoughts, on which his 
mind was constantly brooding, deprived him of all 
peace of mind, and completely altered his nature. He 
had no rest at night, and by day he was melancholy 
and silent, unless some one touched, however remotely, 
upon the subject of his lawsuit, whereupon he imme- 
diately broke out into a long-winded statement of the 
whole proceeding, pouring out all the vials of his 
wrath upon Elsperger and the whole bench of magis- 
trates, calling them rogues, thieves, murderers, &c., 
accompanying these epithets with the most violent 
gestures, now looking up to heaven, now crying or 
laughing ; in short, behaving like a mad man. His 
friend Rubin, who was attached to him by gratitude 
for numerous benefits he had received from him, at 
length ceased to come near him, as he could no longer 


endure to hear the incessant recital of his imaginary 
wrongs, and the threats and abuse which he poured 
forth upon the magistracy. A master shoemaker of 
the name of Magritzer, his benefactor and friend of 
many years' standing, incurred his hatred by refusing 
to give evidence in his favour in the law-suit. From 
this time Steiner, forgetful of the kindness he had 
received from him, treated him as his bitterest enemy. 
In like manner as he hated the whole magistracy for 
Elsperger's sake, he now detested the whole guild 
of shoemakers on Magritzer's account. He chose to 
imagine that every master shoemaker was his foe, 
and accordingly behaved to them with marked cold- 
ness or rudeness, and even passed them in the street 
without greeting. Every one who attempted to make 
him hear reason about his suit received the same 
treatment. He was so firmly convinced of the justice 
of his cause, which was so closely bound up with his 
honour, nay, with his very existence, that in his ob- 
stinate conceit he looked upon every attempt to con- 
vince his judgment as a personal injury. 

The hatred and vengefulness which were working 
in his mind, ever since the unfortunate termination of 
his law-suit, made him neglect his business : he 
sought diversion and repose in reading or in drinking, 
dissipated his property, lost many of his customers, 
and was compelled to borrow money. Although he 
had only himself to blame for these misfortunes, he 
looked upon them as entirely the result of the machi- 
nations of his enemies, more especially of the accursed 
Elsperger. If his apprentices were taken up for any 
offence they had committed, he attributed it not to 
any fault of theirs, but to the enmity of the magistrate 


Elsperger towards himself. If he happened to meet 
the burghermaster, or any of the magistrates in the 
street, he imagined that he saw contemptuous sneers 
or sarcastic laughter in their faces. 

In March, 1819, he sent a petition to one of his re- 
lations at Munich, requesting him to present it to the 
supreme court. His relation returned it to him, say- 
ing that he could not meddle in any such matters. 
In May, 1820, he himself undertook the journey to 
Munich, and laid before the privy council a statement 
of his grievances. He returned to Ratisbon full of 
hope and joy, fully persuaded that if there were any 
justice on earth, the privy council would decide in 
his favour. He expected nothing less than that the 
magistrates of Ratisbon would be compelled to give 
him full compensation for his losses, and to make 
him an ample and public apology. Soon after his 
return from Munich, he said to his friend Rubin, 
whom he met in the street, " My suit must soon take 
quite a different turn, or else you will hear of my doing 
something that will make the whole world stare." 
Rubin could not doubt what he meant by this expres- 
sion, as Steiner had said to him some months before, 
while abusing the magistrates, " If the sentence against 
me be not reversed, my enemy" (meaning Elsperger) 
" must die ; for whoever robs me of my honour, and 
of my property, shall not live." 

As might have been anticipated, Steiner's petition 
to the privy council was rejected on the 8th of Sep- 
tember, 1820. His hatred against the magistracy, and 
especially Elsperger, was now turned into rage. In 
the refusal of the privy council he saw a fresh proof 
of systematic persecution, oppression, and insolence on 


the part of the magistracy towards himself. His dis- 
eased vanity made him imagine that the whole magis- 
tracy were leagued together for his destruction. He 
believed, or affected to believe, that they meant to 
seize his person, to confine him in a madhouse, and 
thus to get rid of his claim upon them for satisfaction 
and compensation for his losses. He said to his ap- 
prentice Bezold, that he saw by the answer he had 
received that all protection was refused him, that he 
was as good as outlawed, and that as any one might 
shoot or stab him, he must carry some weapon for his 
own defence. Thenceforward he always went armed 
with a brace of loaded pistols, for the double purpose 
of protecting himself from any attack, and of shooting 
Elsperger. For months these pistols were his constant 
companions, and he made no secret of it. He occa- 
sionally fired them off in the presence of his appren- 
tices, for the sake of practice, at some mark in the fields. 
It was well known in the taverns which Steiner fre- 
quented that he carried loaded pistols, and many per- 
sons avoided his company on that account. About 
fourteen days before the murder, he related his story 
to the master tailor Heimbrand, and, taking a pistol 
out of his coat pocket, he said, " If my law-suit does 
not turn out to my mind, I will shoot some one." He 
had frequently uttered the same threats to his appren- 
tice Keitel, and to a shoemaker of the name of Scheidel, 
some seven or eight weeks before the murder. At the 
time when Sand was executed for killing Kotzebue, he 
said to Dr. H , who had been his medical atten- 
dant for years, " I have lost my honour and part of 
my property by this law-suit : I have nothing more 
to lose, and will now die like Sand." 

2 A 


The magistrates, more especially Elsperger, were 
informed of the threats uttered by Steiner; but no 
notice was taken of him, as they imagined that the 
very publicity of his menaces afforded security against 
his carrying them into execution. 

A few months before the murder Steiner was sum- 
moned to appear before the magistrates for nonpay- 
ment of the rent of his shop. The creditor happened 
also to be a magistrate. Steiner obstinately refused 
to appear, giving as his reason that this was a mere 
pretext for delivering him into the power of his ene- 
mies. The magistrate, his creditor, who learnt from 
the physician in what an excited state Steiner then 
was, behaved towards him with the greatest considera- 
tion, and requested the physician to persuade him 
to lend a willing obedience to the commands of the 
court. This the physician attempted to do with the 
assistance of Steiner's wife, but with no success. 
Steiner now imagined that the physician and his own 
wife had joined in the general conspiracy against 
him : he therefore turned his wife out of his house as 
his bitterest enemy. From that time forward she 
lived separate from him ; and Steiner without a wife 
and without friends, all of whom he had ere now 
alienated from himself, lived alone in the world, 
which, in his belief, had not only deprived him of all 
happiness, but had even conspired to destroy the mi- 
serable existence which was all it had left to him. 

On the unlucky 26th of June he appeared un- 
usually disturbed and melancholy. Elizabeth Fischer, 
his maid-servant, saw him sitting at work cutting out 

o o 

a pair of boots, and heard him say to himself with tears 
in his eyes, " They have made me so poor that I have 


not enough leather to make a pair of boots, or money 
to pay for some." This was literally true, and he was 
forced to procure some leather on credit. At about 
three P.M. he went to the leather-seller at Stadtamhof, 
to whom he already owed a good deal, as usual with 
his pistols in his pocket. Two of his acquaintance met 
him on the bridge across the Danube : he passed them 
without greeting, and stared so wildly that one of 
them said to the other, " Look ! there goes that 
wronghead, that madman, Steiner." He returned 
home with the borrowed leather under his arm, filled 
with anger and grief at the thoughts of his reduced 
fortunes, and furious against the supposed authors of 
his humiliation, above all, against his arch enemy 
Elsperger, whom he pictured to himself as rejoicing 
in his disgrace and misfortunes. The resolution 
which he had long cherished but had not yet dared 
to execute, now became stronger than ever. He 
longed to meet Elsperger : and if he should meet him 
he determined to speak to him, and, unless he ob- 
tained a satisfactory answer, to shoot him. Brooding 
over these feelings and resolves, Steiner reached the 
market-place, when his evil destiny threw Elsperger 
in his way. " Mr. Magistrate," said Steiner, accord- 
ing to his own confession, " Mr. Magistrate, shall I 
have much longer to wait before I receive compensa- 
tion for my losses?" Elsperger replied, "What do 
you want ? Go away, you foolish fellow." " What do 
I want?" answered Steiner; " I am no longer able to 
support myself." Elsperger then raised his stick and 
said, "Get along, you fellow!" Steiner now drew 
out his pistol, pointed it at Elsperger, and attempted, 
but in vain, to pull the trigger, while Elsperger warded 

2 A2 


off the pistol with his stick. Meanwhile Steiner re- 
turned the useless weapon to his pocket, and quickly 
drew out the second pistol, which he instantly dis- 
charged, exclaiming, according to the testimony of a 
bystander, " Wait, you villain !" and the deed was 

In the fullness of his joy at the death of his mortal 
foe, and in the first triumph of gratified revenge, Stei- 
ner boasted of his long-cherished intentions of murder. 
But before the court he carefully recalled all expres- 
sions of the kind, and endeavoured for some time, with 
great prudence and skill, so to describe the circum- 
stances attending his crime as to take from it all ap- 
pearance of premeditation. He did not deny that he 
bore a deep hatred against Elsperger on account of 
the unfortunate turn of his law-suit, and the harshness 
with which he had been treated, more especially with 
regard to his hasty committal to prison, the heat and 
stench of which, he said, had nearly killed him. But 
during several examinations he denied that he carried 
pistols about him with any particular reference to El- 
sperger ; he wore them, he said, as a protection against 
any illegal violence which might be offered to his own 
person ever since there had been a conspiracy among 
the magistrates against him. At his first examination 
he described the fatal occurrence which happened in 
the market-place as the result of sudden and violent 
anger, and denied that, he even at the moment wished 
to inflict death. Elsperger's insulting language, and 
the blow which he aimed at him with his stick in the 
public streets, were so irritating as to cause him to 
seize first one pistol, and then the other, and to shoot 
the man who had insulted him. " It was not my 


intention to kill, but only to wound him," continued 
Steiner ; " I did not expect it to end so fatally." 
At his second examination he stated that he did not 
even intend to wound him. " I presented the se- 
cond pistol to prevent him from attacking me ; it 
suddenly went off, I know not whether I pulled the 
trigger or not." At his third examination he said, 
" When Elsperger reviled me, I took the pistol out 
of my pocket. When he saw it in my hand, he 
raised his stick and struck at the hand whicn held 
the pistol, till his stick split. He then looked at 
his stick. In the mean time I returned the one 
pistol to my pocket, pulled out the other, and 
cocked it, that I might be able to defend myself 
should Elsperger again attack me. My hand must 
have trembled as I held the pistol and made it go off 
I had no intention of firing." He afterwards returned 
to his first statement. " I took aim only at Elsperger's 
leg. I had no intention to kill, but only to wound 
him, and cannot conceive how I chanced to hit him 
in the head ; I can only account for it by supposing 
that I must have trembled fearfully." When charged 
with having uttered threats of murder before several 
witnesses, he confidently answered that these accusa- 
tions were impudent lies; that such assertions were 
really laughable. " It is perfectly true that I have at 
times been angry with the authors of my misfortunes; 
who would not ? But I never thought of commit- 
ting murder. It is a sheer invention that I ever said I 
would shoot such a one, or do something to make the 
whole world stare : people often talk among each 
other, and end by really believing some tale which 
they have invented themselves. I cannot think what 


folks would have ; the thought of shooting a man 
dead never entered my head, so help me God." In 
the fourth examination, he was reminded that he 
had once said to his friend Rubin, " Some one must 
die if my law-suit does not take a more favourable 
turn." He clasped his hands, and looked towards 
heaven, exclaiming, " Merciful God ! I know not 
whether I said so to Rubin or not. I cannot be cer- 
tain one way or the other." When reminded that he 
had once told Rubin that if he lost his cause he would 
do something to make the world stare, he replied, 
" Blessed Lord ! can folks talk of nothing but mak- 
ing the world stare ? It is possible that I may have 
uttered complaints before Rubin : I may have said 
that I should be ruined by my suit, and have no 
compensation awarded me ; that it was galling to me 
to be no longer able to earn my livelihood, and pay 
ready money for the articles required for my business. 
When a man is forced to be bankrupt, that is what I 
call making the world stare. The other shoemakers 
were envious of me, because formerly I could always 
pay ready money." He could not help, however, con- 
fessing, in answer to repeated questions, that he had 
frequently expressed himself to several persons to 
the following effect : That he carried the pistols about 
with him in order to shoot some one if he lost his suit ; 
but that he would not shed blood except at the last 
extremity. The judge exhorted him to say, distinctly, 
whom he had then alluded to. He answered, " I must 
confess that it was none other than the magistrate 
Elsperger, whom I conceived to be the chief cause of 
my misfortunes." He then recommenced the detail of 
his griefs : " At length," he continued, " I met El- 


sperger on the day of the murder. I spoke to him, 
and he answered me with insults ; I lost all power 
over myself; my blood boiled, and the deed was done." 
This answer was almost a confession of intentional 

At length in his fifth examination he plainly declared 
that he had long been determined to shoot Elsperger 
out of revenge. This admission he afterwards quali- 
fied by saying that on the 26th of June he had, in a 
sudden fit of just indignation, shot his bitter foe, not 
only without any previous plot, but in spite of his 
determination to the contrary. " It was certainly my 
intention, if I could not obtain legal redress, to kill 
him ; but I intended first to go once more to Munich. 
Had not Elsperger insulted and struck me publicly on 
the 26th of June, I should not have fired at him, be- 
cause I fully expected to obtain justice at Munich. 
I will not, however, deny that I had made up my 
mind to shoot him if I did not obtain justice. 

With these ingenious excuses and half confessions 
he managed to baffle the judge for months, until at 
length, after a fresh judge had been appointed to in- 
vestigate the case, he made the following confession 
in the seventh and two subsequent examinations : 

"The cause of my deed was the sentence which 
Elsperger pronounced and executed against me. The 
judgment was unjust, as other papers were fraudu- 
lently inserted in lieu of the original documents, in 
consequence of which the sentence, notwithstanding all 
my representations, was passed and carried into effect. 
By this sentence I lost honour and property, whereupon 
I swore to kill Elsperger unless I could obtain justice. 
I did not make this determination while I was in 


prison, nor indeed until Elsperger summoned me to 
make the apology within three days, under pain of 
fine and imprisonment. I went to the advocate Eg- 
gelkraut, who entreated me to carry my apology to 
the magistrate. I did so ; and this was the cause of 
my hatred towards Elsperger, and of my determina- 
tion to kill him, so that he might not rejoice and exult 
in my misfortunes. I resolved to shoot Elsperger 
wherever I might meet him, in the event of my not 
obtaining justice from the crown. 

" First, however, I endeavoured to get justice done 
me by legal means ; bloodshed was my last resource. 
From my youth up I could never find it in me to 
injure any one. When a boy, I was grieved when a 
bird which I had hit lay dead before me. As soon as 
my arrest was at an end, I went to Munich, but re- 
turned without success. In 1820 I again went to 
Munich, fully resolved to kill Elsperger if I again 
failed in my object, as I could no longer bear his 
tyranny. On the 4th of June, 1820, when I returned 
from Munich, I heard that my suit was prospering, 
but could learn nothing certain. I then went to the 
burghermaster." He repeated a long conversation 
with him, which we need not insert. " I afterwards 
went to the police-office, where the registrar told me 
that no answer had come, and that I must write again 
about it : a week later came the refusal. 

" I related all this and my opinion on the matter to 
various people whom I thought my friends, in order 
to excite their sympathy: and then began the con- 
spiracy against me. They wanted to drive me mad, 
and then to shut me up in a madhouse. It is easy 
enough, if many conspire together, to declare a man to 


be mad. They say to each other, ' See ! see ! how he 
mixes up one thing with another, and what nonsense 
he talks ! ' Every one asked me about my law-suit, 
and I told it to them all, in detail ; and then they gos- 
sipped about me, and called me a madman, and yet I 

was no more mad than I am now. Even Dr. H 

helped them to drive me mad, and threatened, if I 
would not give way, to say that I was a madman, if his 

opinion were asked. The magistrate H , too, said 

publicly that my excellent wife ought to be protected. 

" Ever since the conspiracy against me began I 
have carried pistols, not quite every day, but usually, 
so as to have some means of defence in case of my 
being attacked, and also in order to use them against 

" The rent which I owed to F was made a 

new subject of persecution to bring me before the 
police. Had I gone to the office, some harsh expres- 
sions on my part would have afforded a sufficient pre- 
text to the police to lay hold of me and shut me up as 
a madman. For this reason I did not go, but lived in 
constant dread of arrest, and of being dragged out of 
my own house and thrown into prison. 

" I still hoped to obtain justice against Elsperger 
from higher quarters. But when all means had failed, 
and my money was exhausted, so that I could neither 
write another petition nor go to Munich when even 
my wife turned against me, and I was compelled to 
put her away, and was left alone in the world, then 
it was that, should I meet Elsperger, who had used me 
so ill, and spoken to me so harshly, I determined to 
shoot him and succeeded. 

" During the whole day I had been sorrowful, be- 


cause I was forced to provide myself with leather, and 
had no money wherewithal to buy it. In the afternoon 
I went to Stadtamhof to fetch some leather, and put 
the loaded pistols in my pocket, in case of being at- 
tacked or of meeting Elsperger. I was much excited, 
as I knew not what would become of me : I could not 
beg, and was unable to earn my bread as a day- 
labourer. I thought within myself, ' If I see him I will 
speak to him, and shoot him dead if he refuses to help 
me.' I was desperate. I had taken a piece of leather 
on credit from the leather-merchant. It grieved me 
to remain in his debt for the leather, but I could not pay 
him, for I wanted even a little money for the maid who 
cooked my daily food. That I, who had been a man 
of property, should be so reduced as to owe more than 
I could pay, enraged me. In this frame of mind I 
returned to Ratisbon, on my way to my own house." 

He then related how he unexpectedly met his 
enemy in the market-place, and on addressing him 
received a harsh reply, whereupon he shot him. 
When asked why he had addressed Elsperger in the 
public street, he replied, " I would have spoken to him 
about my business wherever I might have happened 
to meet him, have told him my condition, and have shot 
him on his refusing to satisfy me. I had nothing left 
to live on, and was determined that he should not live 
to exult over my misfortunes. I thought to myself I 
will shoot him, as he will neither give me compensa- 
tion nor restore my lost honour ; at any rate he shall 
not rejoice at my misfortunes. 

" I well know that it is unlawful to kill a man : I am 
as fond of life as other men ; but I would rather die 
than submit to such oppression as I have endured from 


the magistrate Elsperger. Had any one four years 
ago foretold to me that I should have done such a 
deed, I should have laughed in his face, for murder is 
hateful to me, and I well know that it is the worst 
thing that a man can do." 

This short account of one of his examinations suffi- 
ciently shows the coolness, dexterity, and cunning 
with which Steiner evaded making a full and true 
confession. He distinctly saw what was dangerous, and 
either denied all suspicious circumstances, or adroitly 
gave them such a turn as would make his crime 
appear to be no more than manslaughter. He well 
knew that he had committed murder, and what would 
be the consequence if his crime were proved. We see 
in his confession a disturbed and excited imagination, 
but we also perceive the existence of a clear sound un- 
derstanding, perfectly conscious of what he had done, 
and of his motives for doing it : he analysed the 
thoughts, feelings, and passions which had first excited 
his desire for vengeance ; and he so accurately described 
their origin and progress until the fatal murder, that 
if Steiner was mad, it is impossible to say who is sane. 
If a madman can act with so much discretion, who is to 
point out the difference between a man of sound and 
one of unsound mind ? There can be no doubt that 
Steiner had for several years brooded over his imagi- 
nary wrongs, that he had long made up his mind to 
murder his oppressor, and that he went armed with 
loaded pistols for the purpose. 

There can be no legal doubt that Steiner was guilty, 
and that he fully deserved death. But since physicians 
have exercised their ingenuity in endeavouring to 
prove criminals insane, there is scarce any one be 


his guilt as clear as the noon-day to whose assistance 
the physicians do not bring a store of mental ailments, 
and such assistance was not wanting to the litigious 
and revengeful, though honest Steiner. 

Steiner's family physician, Dr. H , who was ex- 
amined as a witness, could not assign to his patient 
any particular infirmity of mind : he confined himself 
within the proper limits. " Steiner," he said, " was 
of an excitable, nervous temperament : of late I seldom 
visited him ; but when I did see him, I remarked that 
his mind was occupied with but one idea his unfor- 
tunate law-suit. He narrated the whole case to me, 
and I endeavoured to bring him to a better frame 
of mind, but entirely lost his confidence. I always 
believed him to be a man of plain good sense ; but 
after his law-suit, malice and revenge took such com- 
plete possession of his mind that he lost all control 
over himself. I will also add that his is a case in 
which violent excitement might possibly end in mo- 
mentary madness." 

What Steiner's medical attendant suggested as a 
possible explanation, the physician employed by the 
legal authorities asserted as a positive fact. In a long 
written statement which he presented to the court on 
the 25th of October, 1821, he stated that Steiner had 
been suffering from partial madness and melancholy 
ever since his imprisonment. He concluded that on 
every point, save his unfortunate law-suit, Steiner's 
intellect was sound ; but on this subject his ideas 
were so distorted, his language so exaggerated, and his 
actions so eccentric, that Steiner was, in his opinion, 
a madman, who could not properly be held responsible 
for the crime of murder. 


According to this theory, the number of those who 
are irresponsible for their actions is enormous : there 
are few men who have not some particular crotchet, 
some ruling idea, ludicrous or melancholy, which 
they carry with them to the grave. Fortunately, 
however, for society, neither law nor public opinion 
affords indulgence and impunity to all who are led by 
their erroneous impressions to overstep the limits at 
which self-control ends and madness begins. 

All that the physician adduced as evidence of 
Steiuer's madness merely proved that he had for years 
suffered his mind to be completely swayed by impulse 
and passion. Inasmuch as violent emotions tend to 
disturb the balance of the mind, and to endanger the 
authority which should be exercised by the reason over 
the passions, they may indeed be looked upon as dis- 
eases, but these moral diseases are beyond the power 
of medicine. For them, when the restraints of rea- 
son, religion, and morality, and even the fear of 
transgressing the laws, have been ineffectual, the 
proper cures are the prison, and finally the scaffold. 

Steiner's ruling passion was a stubborn adherence 
to his own opinion a passion which had its origin in 
his overweening self-esteem and which caused him 
to persevere to the utmost in his endeavours to obtain 
his imaginary rights. There is a large class of men 
who, like Steiner, are so fully convinced of the justice 
of their cause, and so determined to have what they 
call their rights, that they cannot rest until these 
fancied rights are obtained. They cannot conceive 
that anything can be otherwise than as they believe 
it to be, and as they imagine the justice of their claims 
to be as evident to others as it is to themselves, they 
look upon all that is said or done contrary to their 


own conviction as an intentional and manifest injus- 
tice. If their sentence be adverse, they attribute it to 
the hatred or partiality of the judge, or to the bribery 
the opposite party : they are persuaded that the wit- 
nesses have been tampered with, and that their case 
has been most unfairly tried, as they must otherwise 
infallibly have gained their suit. They consider every 
one concerned, from the judge to the crier of the 
court, as their personal foes, and their anger vents 
itself, according to their several dispositions, in scornful 
and intemperate language, or sometimes, as in the pre- 
sent instance, in desperate deeds. 

It was perfectly natural that Steiner should visit 
upon Elsperger the whole weight of his anger : El- 
sperger had refused to wait while Steiner could appeal 
to a superior court, from which he confidently ex- 
pected a revision of the sentence against him, and he 
therefore considered this magistrate as the real cause 
of his imprisonment, which he looked upon as unjust. 
The loss of his law-suit, and the stain which he ima- 
gined to rest upon his character all the misfortunes 
which subsequently befell him were laid to El- 
sperger's charge. The more he thought over the loss 
of his suit, the more convinced was he of Elsperger's 
injustice and oppression, and the more intense grew 
his hatred and his desire for revenge. 

Steiner had always expected ultimately to obtain a 
favourable decision, and to receive some reparation from 
the whole magistracy : nothing short of this could sa- 
tisfy his obstinate self-will, his wounded pride, and the 
hatred he felt towards the whole body of magistrates. 

The court of appeal to which Steiner's case was sent, 
again referred it to several medical colleges, according 
to the opinion of which learned bodies, given on the 


22nd of January, 1822, Steiner " was in a state of me- 
lancholy madness, and therefore not responsible for his 
actions, when he planned and committed the murder." 
According to this opinion, all crimes arising out of 
passion, that is to say, about seven-eighths of those that 
are committed, must be altogether withdrawn from 
legal jurisdiction, and referred to the medical faculty, 
unless, indeed, the passions can be schooled into a be- 
haviour as cool, measured, and rational as if they were 
no passions at all. 

The central college of medicine contradicted the 
opinions of the physician attached to the court, and of 
the district college of medicine, and gave the following 
opinion : 

" That at the time of the murder committed on 
Elsperger, Steiner was not affected either by mono- 
mania or by melancholy madness, to such a degree as 
to render him unaccountable for his actions, as stated 
by Dr. N , and confirmed by the college of medi- 

By this opinion it was determined that Steiner was 
free from mental disease ; the medical college properly 
had nothing further to say in the matter, and Steiner's 
conduct had now to be judged by the legal autho- 
rities ; nevertheless, the medical board continued as 
follows : " That although Steiner was by no means 
insane when he committed the murder, or utterly un- 
accountable for his actions, his mind was so much 
troubled and affected, that his freedom of action was 
impaired or limited, in consideration of which his 
sentence ought unquestionably to be mitigated." 

A medical opinion exceeds its proper functions by 
making use of the expression that a criminal is respon- 
sible or not responsible for his actions, as that is a 


question for legal decision, and does not come within 
the competence of a physician; still less can it fall 
within the province of medicine to prescribe to the 
judge where he is to seek for extenuating circum- 
stances. Furthermore, if once this doctrine of a 
limited freedom of action be admitted, there is no 
saying where it is to stop, and under what circum- 
stances a man is to be considered wholly accountable 
for his actions, and under what others he has only a 
half, a third, or a fourth share of responsibility. As 
far as human experience reaches, every crime that 
has been committed was not only an immoral and 
illegal, but also an unwise action. And in by far the 
greater number, the very passions by which the free- 
dom of action has been limited and impaired, can be 
distinctly traced in their origin, growth, and final 
effects ; notwithstanding which, most great offenders 
have very properly been executed. 

The three medical opinions failed to convince the 
court of appeal, which, on the 9th of July, 1822, pro- 
nounced Steiner guilty of the murder of the magistrate 
Elsperger of Ratisbon, and sentenced him to death by 
the sword. 

The advocate charged with Steiner's defence deter- 
mined to carry his case before a second court of appeal, 
and after a second reference to physicians, and a more 
detailed defence, the papers were sent to the* second 
court of appeal, which, on the 31st of August, 1824, 
pronounced Ludwig Steiner guilty of murder, and sen- 
tenced him to imprisonment for life. 


London : Printed by W. CLOWES and SONS, Stamford-street 

En ffitjwal Uttrratuw, 





1702 to 1712. Edited by Sir GEORGE MURRAY, G.C.B. 
Vol. I. 8vo. 21*. 

"A discovery has recently been made, the interest of 
which it is not possible to overrate. In a house near the 
town of Woodstock, there had been lying for many years 
certain boxes, supposed to contain deeds and papers apper- 
taining to the Marlborough estates, whose dust nobody had 
ever thought of disturbing, and the existence of which was 
unknown to Archdeacon Coxe when he had the ransacking 
of all the documentary stores of Blenheim. These boxes 
have lately been opened and examined, and have been found 
to contain the whole of the Correspondence and Despatches 
of the Great Duke of Marlborough during the eventful 
period of the War of Succession. They form a collection 
very much resembling the compilation of Colonel Gurwood." 


An entirely New Edition. 

By Rev. II. H. MILMAN, Minister of St. Margaret's and 
Prebendary of Westminster. With Historical Maps. 
C vols. 8vo. In preparation, 

" This edition of Gibbon is the only one extant to which 
Parents and Guardians and Academical Authorities ought 
to give any measure of countenance." Quarterly Review. 

By HENRY HALLAM, Esq. Eighth Edition. 2 vols. 8vo, 24*. 

" The most complete and highly-finished among many 
valuable works. It is a series of finely-drawn historical 
sketches." North American Review. 

HISTORY OF ENGLAND, from the Acces- 
sion of Henry VII. to the Death of George the Second. 
By HENRY HALLAM, Esq. Fifth Edition. 2 vols. 8vo, 24*. 

" Mr. Hallam has great industry and great acuteness. 
His knowledge is extensive, various, and profound; and 
his mind is equally distinguished by the amplitude of its 
grasp and delicacy of its touch." Edinburgh Review. 

OF KING HENRY VIII. Publiitted by Authority. 5 vols, 
4 to, 20*. each. 


From the Peace of Utrecht (1713) to the Peace of Paris 
(17C3). By LORD MAHON. Second Edition, vols. 1 to 3, 8vo, 
36*. Vol. 4, 16. 

" Lord Mahon has shown throughout excellent skill in 
combining, as well as contrasting, the various elements of 
interest which his materials afforded; he has drawn his 
historical portraits with a firm and easy hand." Quarterly 

" We must entreat that our estimation of these volumes 
be not rated by the length of our review or the number of 
our extracts. Such a work is one for people to be told to 
read, not spared the trouble of perusing, by the presenta- 
tion of all the interesting pages." Morning Chronicle. 

"Lord Mahon has a very just judgment of things. He 
writes sensibly, clearly, and pleasantly. His book has the 
vivacity of a French memoir, without its insincerity." 

[DECEMBER, 1844.]' 


the Hon. MOUNTSTUART ELPHINSTONE. Second Edition* 
Map. 2 vols. 8vo, 30*. 

" A work of the greatest authority and learning one of 
the latest and most valuable works on the Eastern Empire." 
Sir Robert Peel. 


during the 16th and 17th Centuries. By LEOPOLD RANKE. 
Translated by SARAH AUSTIN. Second Edition. 3 vols. 
8vo, 36*. 

" An excellent book, excellently translated. It now takes 
its place among the English Classics." Edinburgh Review. 

" We cannot praise too highly the simplicity and ele- 
gance of the English into which Mrs. Austin has ren- 
dered the original text." Time*. 


From the Birth of Christ to the Extinction of Paganism 
in the Roman Empire. By Rev. H. H. MILMAN, Minis- 
ter of St. Margaret's, and Prebendary of Westminster. 
3 vols. 8vo, 36*. 

" A safe book for all to read. The divine origin of Chris- 
tianity, and the authority of the Holy Scriptures, are 
everywhere maintained." Preface to the American Edi~ 
tion, by Dr. Murdoch. 

By LORD MAHON. Second Edition. Map. 8vo, 15*. 

" Lord Mahon's narrative reflects a singularly well 
erdered mind it is comprehensive, clear, and lively." 
Quarterly Review. 


or Extracts from the Correspondence of the Hon. ALEX- 
ANDER STANHOPE, British Minister at Madrid from 1690 to 
1700. By LORD MAHON. Second Edition, enlarged. Post 8vo, 
6*. 6d. 

"A very curious volume: of small pretensions, but of 
sterling value j almost every passage has an interest of 
one kind or other, and it is obvious, from the form of the 
extracts, that a discreet judgment has been exercised in 
the selection." Spectator. 

"Throwing much light upon the affairs of Spain at 
the period to which they refer." New lUonthly Magazine. 

ANGLO-SAXON KINGS. From the German of 
ditions and Corrections by the Author and Translator. 
2 vols. 8vo. 

ANCIENT EGYPTIANS, derived from Hieroglyphics, 
Sculpture, Paintings, &c., still existing, compared with 
Ancient Authors. By Sir GARDNER WILKINSON. Second 
Edition. With 600 Illustrations. 6 vols. 8vo, 61. 6?. 

"Sir Gardner Wilkinson has done more to make the 
people of the Pharaohs known to us moderns than any 
contemporary writer." Athenaeum. 

"These laborious and highly meritorious investiga- 
tions." Evangelical Magazine, 




including his Correspondence, and Selections from his 
Anecdote Book. By HOHACK Twiss, Esq., one of Her 
Majesty's Counsel. With Portraits. Second Edition. 
3 vols. 8vo, 42*. 

"This is a sterling work and will live." Quarterly 

"Mr. Twiss has just crowned a literary life more labori- 
ous and more important in its labours than the world is 
perhaps aware of, by a biographical work, which, in point of 
interest and permanent value, is not surpassed by any of the 
class to which it belongs." Morning Chron. 

"... Mr. Twiss's work cannot fail to stand amongst the 
sterling additions to our higher biographical literature, as 
the memorial, by a candid, cultivated, and discreet mind, 
of one of the most remarkable men in the later English 
annals." Morning Post. 

" The work of Mr. Twiss will live with posterity, and be 
esteemed as one of the most valuable contributions to the 
standard literature of the age. . . ." Times. 

"... These volumes abound in capital anecdotes pos- 
sess passages of very effective writing and form a work 
which ought to be in the library of every lawyer, statesman, 
and English gentleman." Blackwvod. 

Son. 8vo. In the Press. 

" These Memoirs embrace an Account of Public Affairs 
in the Mediterranean from 1792 to 1812; the most im- 
portant Events in the Liberation War in Germany (1813), 
and in the Campaign of France (1814) leading to the 
Downfall of Napoleon ; the political and military Trans- 
actions in the Netherlands, immediately previous to the 
Campaign of Waterloo ; and public and personal Proceed- 
ings during the Detention of Napoleon at St. Helena." 

FORCES. From Authentic Documents supplied by his 
Family and Friends. By Rev. EDWIN SIDNEY. 8vo. 
Nearly ready. 



nary from the Court of St. James to the Duke of Savoy, in 
the reign of Queen Anne. By Rev. W. BLACKBY, B.A. 
2 vols. 8vo. Nearly Heady. 

NORWICH, including his Correspondence with Southey. 
By J. W. ROBBBRDS, Esq. Portrait. 2 vols. 8vo, 30*. 

" The narrative is that of an able man and the corres- 
pondence as interesting as any we are likely to see revealed 
for many years to come." Quarterly Review. 

the System of Mutual Tuition. Vol. 1 by ROBERT SOUTHEY, 
LL.D. Vols. 2 and 3 by the Rev. C. C. SOUTHKY. 3 vols. 
8vo, 42*. 

" A posthumous work of the late Mr. Southey cannot 
fail to excite interest. A Life from his pen of Dr. Bell, for 
whom and whose system he was known to feel so marked 
a respect, illustrates the veneration which greatness has for 
greatness." Athenteum. 


With his Letters, Journals, and Critical Remarks on 
Works of Art, during his tours in France, the Netherlands, 
Italy, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Egypt, and the Holy Land. 
By ALLAN CUNNINGHAM, Esq. Portrait. 3 vols. Hvo. 42*. 

" Mr. Allan Cunningham has done justice to his subject, 
and produced a work of great interest and utility." Gen- 
tleman's Magazine. 


By J. G. LOCKHAHT, ESQ., Fourth Edition, fcap. 8vo, 6*. 6d, 

Portrait 8vo, 10*. 6d. 

" A more interesting volume has never issued from the 
press." Literary Gazette. 

written by Himself, with his LETTERS and POLITICAL 
DIARY, edited by his SONS. Third Edition. Portrait. 
2 vols. fcp. 8vo, 12*. 

"A narrative singularly touching and striking." 


his Administration in Canada, and his Correspondence. 
By G. POULETT SCROPE, Esq., M.P. Second Edition, 
abridged. Portrait. 8vo, 9*. 6d. 

" We have risen from the perusal of this work with 
much satisfaction. Our interest in the biographical nar. 
rative never abated." Eraser's Magazine. 


By LORD MAHON, M.P. With a Map, 8vo, 12*. 
" A valuable contribution to the history of a most inte- 
resting era." London Magazine. 
"An. able and valuable performance." Monthly Review. 



With Selections from his Correspondence, &c., and Notes. 
By Rev. H. H. MILMAN, Minister of St. Margaret's, and 
Prebendary of Westminster. Portrait. 8vo, 9*. 

"The present volume is a valuable and necessary com- 
panion to the Decline and Fall. No one who desires to be 
informed in the most engaging and dignified manner of 
the most important eras in the world's annals can allow 
himself to remain unacquainted with the life and corres- 
pondence of its very remarkable author." Monthly Review. 

BREWSTER, LL.D. 12mo, 7*. 

" A pleasant contribution to our scientific biography." 

"A very delightful performance, containing gem-like 
portraitures of three extraordinary geniuses." Literary 


Master of- Trinity College, Cambridge. By the Rev. CHRIS- 
TOPHER WORDSWORTH, D.D., Prebendary of Westminster. 
With Notes and Illustrations. 2 vols. 8vo, 42*. 

" Maintains Bentley's high character for erudition." 


The Geologist, Author of the Map of the Strata of England 
and Wales. By his Nephew and Pupil, JOHN PHILLIPS, 
F.R.8. 8vo, 7*. 6d. 

" A grateful and gratifying recollection of the Father of 
English Geology." Literary Gazette. 


Esq. New and cheaper Edition. Portrait and Vignette. 
Complete in one volume, royal iivo, 15*. 


With his Letters and Journals. By his SON. New Edition. 
Plates, fcap. 8vo, 7*. 6d. 

Translated from the French, by J. P. MUIRHKAD, M.A. 
8vo, 8*. 6<l. 



OF THE CHURCH OF ROME. Selected from Emi- 
nent Divines of the Church of England. By JAMES 
BKOGDEN, M.A. 4 vols. 8vo. 

CAREFULLY ANNOTATED. "With Illustrations, Illumi- 
nations, Initials, Borders, Vignettes, &e. By Owns 
JONES, Architect. 8vo. A'eurly lieu<ly. 

The Historical Illustrations are selected from the Works 
of the Pure Artists of the early I talian and German Schools. 
With Useful aud Instructive Notes by a careful Editor. 

AND RITUAL OF THE CHURCH, being Sermons and 
Discourses of eminent Divines of the Seventeenth Cen- 
tury. By JAMES BBOODBN, M.A. 3 vols. post 8vo, 27*. 

" A most valuable addition to every parochial clergy- 
man's, and indeed to every churchman's library." Bishop 
of Exeter's Charge. 

" Mr. Brogden's useful Collection of Discourses on the 
Liturgy and Ritual of the Church." Bishop of London's 

By the Rev. W. J. CONYBEARE, M.A., Principal of the 
Collegiate Institution, Liverpool, and one of her Majesty's 
Preachers. 8vo, 9*. 

being a Journal of Travels, undertaken in reference to 
Biblical Geography. By the Rev. Dr. ROBINSON and Rev. 
ELI SMITH. With new Maps and Plans. 3 vols. 8vo, 45*. 

" We have found more solid and important information 
on the geography and topography of the Holy Land, than 
has accumulated since the days of Reland." Quarterly 

" The most important contribution to Biblical Geography 
which has appeared since the days of St. Jerome." 

" By far the most important contribution to Biblical 
History and Geography made in our time." Examiner. 

" To the religious world and the Biblical Scholar this 
work will be one of high interest." Spectator. 


WILLIAM SEWELL, B.D., late Professor of Moral Philoso- 
phy at Oxford. Fcap. 8vo, 7*. 6d. 

" Ably, and in general satisfactorily, treated; the style 
animated aud eloquent.' 1 Gentleman's Magazine. 


With Notes containing References to the Authorities, and 
an Index. By ROBERT SOUTHEY, LL.D. F(flh Edition. 
8vo, 12*. 

" I offer to those who regard with love and reverence the 
religion which they have received from their fathers, a 
brief but comprehensive record, diligently, faithfully, and 
conscientiously composed, which they may put into the 
hands of their children." Preface. 



with their system of Philosophy and Cosmogony. By 


arranged for every Sunday. By BISHOP HEBEB. Eleventh 
Etiilion. lo'mo, 2*. 

The public estimation of the Plan of this little work is 
shown by the fact of Elevfn Editions having been called 
lor, and the sale of upwards of 2'u'dae Th-jusund Copiet, 


On the Lessons, the Gospel, or the Epistle, for every 
Sunday and Principal Festival in the Year. By the Utlo 
BISHOP UEBEB. fi/tfi Edition. 2 vols. post 8vo, lit*. 

" I believe that these Sermons will add a new interest 
and lustre to the name of Reginald Heber, and will awaken 
a fresh regret for his loss." Sir Robert Inglm't Pnfu.ce. 



By the late BISHOP HEBER. Second Edition. 8vo, U*. Ctf. 


the EDOM of the Prophecies. By M. LKON DB LABORDE. 
Second Edition. With, 65 Plates, Woodcuts, and Maps. 
8vo, 18*. 

"A publication of extreme value and interest to every 
Christian." British Critic. 

" All ministers and students should possess themselves 
of this splendid volume." Evangelical Magazine. 


CLERGY of the Diocese of Exeter, at his Triennial 
Visitation, in July, August, and September, 1842. By the 
BISHOP OF EXBTCR. Second Edition. Fcap. 8vo, 2s. 


OFFERTORY, especially with reference to the Mission- 
ary Exertions of the Church, and to tho State of Spi- 
ritual Destitution in the Manufacturing Districts of 
England. By the BISHOP OF EXETEB. 8vo, 6d. 


Ordination holden in the Cathedral Church of Exeter. 
By the BISHOP OF EXETER, 12mo, 1*. 

"A brief and earnest manual of sound church doctrine." 
Morning Post. 


THE WIDOW'S MITE ; a Sermon preached 
in behalf of the National Society ; with a Pastoral Letter to 
the Inhabitants of Plymouth. By the BISHOP OK EXBTER. 
12mo, Gif, 


By HENRY EDWARD MANNING, Archdeacon of Chichester 
Second Edition. 8vo, 10*. 6d, 


NARY VISITATION of the Archdeaconry of Chichester 
in July 1841, 1842, and 1843. By HKNRY EDWARD MAN- 
NINO, Archdeacon of Chichester. 8vo, 2*. each. 


SUNDAY, at an ORDINATION held by the Lord Bishop 
of Chichester. By HENRY EDWARD MANNING, Archdea- 
con of Chichester. Uvo, 1*. 

ORDINARY VISITATION, together with a Form of 
Prayer. By ROBERT ISAAC WILBERFORCE, Archdeacon of 
the East Riding. 8vo, 3d. 


Rector of Croydoa. 2 vols. fcap. Uvo, 1C*. 

Mn. MURRAY'S LIST OF BOOKS. Voyages and Travels. 


TRIBES OP ISRAEL settled in Ooroomia, Koordistan, 
Ancient Assyria, and Media. With Illustrations of 
Scripture Prophecy. By ASAHEL GRANT, M.D. With 
Map. Third Edition. Fcap. 8vo, G*. 

" An important accession to our stores of geographical 
knowledge." Church of England Review. 

" Much curious and interesting information of which 
its name gives no previous warning." Athenceum. 

clusion of the Pentateuch to the Opening of the Prophets. 
By Rev. J. J. BLUNT. Post 8vo, 6*. 6d. 


Principles for the Proper Understanding of tho MOSAIC 
WRITINGS, stated and applied, together with an Incidental 
Argument for the Truth of the Resurrection of our Lord. 
By Rev. J. J. BLUNT. Post 8vo, 6*. 6<J. 


MOSES, argued from the undesigned Coincidences to bo 
found in them when compared in their several partf. 
By Rev. J. J. BLUNT. Post 8vo, 5*. 6d. 

"Mr. Blunt has signalised himself as a very successful 
disciple of Dr. Paley in the management of that species of 
Christian evidence, which arises from the discovery of un- 
designed coincidence of revealed truth." Evangelical 

WORSHIP, selected, arranged, and adapted to tho 
various Solemnities of the Church. By AV. B. HOLLAND, 
M.A., Perpetual Curate of Walmer. 24mo. 1*. 6d. 

*** Clergymen wishing to introduce this Selection will 
be allowed a discount. 


HISTORY OF JOSIAH. By the Author of 

" A pleasing scripture history, accompanied by many 
moral and religious reflections." Literary Gazette. 


India and China. 

Plans. Post 8vo, 12*. 

"The journal of one whose very name lightens up the 
eye, and gladdens the spirit of one, whose ' story shall 
the good man tell his son' the journal of our high- 
minded noble countrywoman, Lady Sale." Athenaeum. 

" Lady Sale evinces a degree of strong sense, judgment, 
and familiarity with details, which might do credit to a 
veteran general." Naval and Military Gazette. 

Edition. Map and Plates. 3 vols. fcap. 8vo. 18*. 

" The admirable publication of Sir Alexander Burnes." 
Literary Gazette. 

" The author is evidently a man of strong and mascu- 
line talents, high spirit, and elegant taste, and is in every 
respect well qualified to tread in the steps of our Malcolms 
and Elphinstones." Quarterly Review. 

Edition. Portrait and Plates. 8vo, 18*. 

"The charm of the book is in its buoyant style. Personal 
character, domestic scenes, and oriental manners, are 
painted with vivacity, ease, and lightness of touch." 


Badakhshan. By Lieut. JOHN WOOD, Indian Navy. Map. 
8vo. 14*. 

" The valuable geographical details which Lieut. Wood 
has collected, and his clear sketches of society, render his 
volume one of the most agreeable and instructive of its 
class." Athena-urn. 

" Extremely well written ; full of natural pictures of 
icenery and character. "Examiner. 

Ladakh and Kashmir, in Peshawar, Kabul, Kunduz, and 
TRKBECK. 2 vols. flvo, 30*. 

" A most valuable narrative." Quarterly Review. 

OF MALACCA, including Penang, Malacca, and Singa- 
pore. By Lizux. NKWBOLD. 2 vojs. Oyo, 26;. 


with a Narrative of the Military Operations at Cabul, 
which ended in the Retreat and Destruction of the British 
Army. By Lieut. VINCENT EYRE, Bengal Artillery. 
Seventh Edition. Plan. Post 8vo, 12*. 

" A volume of thrilling interest." United Service 

"The public has cause to be thankful to Mr. Eyre, for 
so excellent and so valuable a narrative." Times. 

"One of the most enchaining narratives we have met 
with for a long time." Spectator. 

TON. Maps. 2 vols. 4tO, 4/. 14*. Gd. 

pressions of Manners and Society in India, described 
from a Three Years' Residence. By a LADY. Post 8vo, 
9*. Gd. 


CALCUTTA TO EUROPE, by Way of Egypt. By the 
late Mrs. CHARLES LUSHINGTON. Second Edition. Post 
8vo, 8*. 6d. 


By LORD JOCELYN, late Military Secretary to tho Chinese 
Expedition. Sixth Edition. Plans. Fcap. 8vo, 5*. (M. 

"Lord Jocelyn supplies us with some striking facts and 
unknown particulars." Literary Gazette. 

LOCH, R.N. With Map. Post 8vo, 8*. 6d. 

" One of the best books that the War has produced." 

" The sketches of Chinese character are the most strik- 
ing and the most graphic, we have met with." Naval 
and Military Gazette. 



Described from the Accounts of Recent Dutch Travellers. 
Post 8vo, 9*. 6d. 

" Containing all the information about Japan which has 
been obtained ; well arranged and well put together." 
Literary Gaxette. 

" This useful account of a ycry curious people." 

MR. MURRAY'S LIST OF BOOKS. Voyages and Travels. 

NOTICES ON CHINA, and our Commercial 

Intercourse with that Country. By Siu GEORGE STAUNTON, 
Bart. Second Edition, 8vo, 12f. 

Mediterranean, and Asia Minor. 

THE MEDITERRANEAN, during the Years 184041. 
By the COUNTESS GROSVENOB. With 26 Plates. 2 vols. 
post 8vo, 20*. 

WORDSWORTH, D.D., Prebendary of Westminster. Second 
Edition. Maps and Plates. 8vo, 12*. 

Esq. Plates. Post 8vo, 12*. 

" Whether as a guide to the traveller, or as amusing 
summer reading to those who stay at home Mr. Giffard's 
work is very creditable to its author. 1 ' Quarterly Review. 


By ROBERT PASHLBV, A.M., Fellow of Trinity College, 
Cambridge. Maps, Plates, and Woodcuts. 2 vols. 8vo, 
21. 2*. 



MINOR IN 1838. Including a Visit to several unknown 

and undescribcd Cities. By CHARLES FELLOWS, Esq. 

Second Edition. Plates and Woodcuts. Imperial 8vo, 28y. 


being a Journal kept during a Second and more Recent 
Excursion in Asia Minor in 1840. By CHARLES FELLOWS, 
Esq. Plates and Woodcuts. Imperial 8vo, 21. 2t. 

" Our author has discovered eleven ancient Lycian cities, 
and has allowed the learned world to perceive that Lycia 
is a mine of antiquarian treasures, of which he has only 
scraped the surface." Athenaeum. 


MARBLES, discovered by CHARLES FKLLOWS, Esq. In 
Asia Minor, and now deposited in the British Museum. 
Plates. Imperial 8vo, 5*. 

AND ARMENIA ; with some Account of the Antiquities 
and Geology of those Countries. By W. L. HAMILTON, 
Esq., M.P., Secretary to the Geological Society. Map, 
Plate;. 2 vols. 8vo, 38*. 

" Mr. Hamilton's archaeological researches and his nar- 
rative in general, have our warmest commendations." 

Egypt and the East. 

a Description of Egypt ; with Information for Travel- 
lers in that Country. By Sin GARDNER WILKINSON. 
Woodcuts and Map, 2 vols. 8vo, 42*. 

" No one should visit Egypt, or take the overland pas- 
sage to India, without availing himself of this work as his 
travelling Companion. It should be used as a Hand book 
by all who travel to India, or make the Tour of Egypt and 
Thebes." Evangelical Magazine. 

"An invaluable guide to all who visit the valley of the 
Nile." Athenaeum. 


ANCIENT EGYPTIANS, derived from Hieroglyphics, 
Sculpture, Paintings, &c., still existing, compared with 
Ancient Authors. By SIR GARDNER WILKINSON. Second 
Edition. With 600 Illustrations. 6 vols. 8vo, Gl. 8*. 

" Sir Gardner Wilkinson has done more to make the 
people of the Pharaohs known to us moderns than any 
contemporary writer." Athenaeum. 

from Notes made during a Tour in those Countries. By 
JOHN G. KINNBAR, Esq. Post 8vo, 9*. 6<f. 

" Short, pleasant, and interesting ; we find ourselves, 
when we close the book, in a tolerable state of familiarity 
with Eastern manners." Times. 

" Mr. Kinnear writes extremely well, and his descrip- 
tions proclaim him a good observer." Examiner. 

Polynesia and South Seas. 

SEAS ; during 1839-40-41-42-43. By CAPTAIN SIR JAMES 
CLARK Ross, Knt. Plates and Maps. 2 vols. 8vo. In the 

" These volumes will contain an Account of Kerguelen 
Island, Van Diemen's Land, Campbell and Auckland 
Island, New Zealand, Falkland Islands, Cape Horn, and 
New South Shetland. The Discovery of a Southern Con- 
tinent named Victoria Land, and determination of the 
South Magnetic Pole." 


By Routes through the interior. With contributions to 
the Geography, Geology, Botany, and Natural History of 
the Islands. By ERNEST DIEFFENBACH, M.D., Naturalitt 
to the New Zealand Company. Plates. 2 vols, 8vo, 24*. 

" Incomparably the best work which has yet appeared." 
Christian Remembrancer. 

" A book from which the reader will draw a vast deal of 
information and amusement." Glasgow Argus. 


REV. P. G. HILL, Chaplain of H. M. S. Cleopatra. Map. 
Fcap. 8vo, 3*. 6d. 

" We hope this little book will have a wide circulation. 
We can conceive nothing so likely to do good to the 
righteous cause it is intended to promote." Examiner. 

" Mr. Hill is a pleasant, unaffected, and elegant writer, 
with a fund of good sense, and his brief and popular work 
is well adapted for public circulation." Spectator. 

Central and South America. 

Being a Second Visit to the Ruined Cities of CENTRAL 
AMERICA. By JOHN L. STEPHENS, Esq. 120 Engravings. 
2 vols. 8vo, 42*. 


L. STEPHENS, Esq. 78 Engravings. 2 vols. 8vo, 32*. 

"At once so amusing in their details and so instructive 
in their inquiries." Literary Gazette. 

" These delightful volumes ! It is grievous to quit a 
store so brimful to overflowing of what we like best." 

"The pleasantest and best work that has lately ap- 
peared." Spectator. 

0/thete Travels 15,000 copiet have been told. '. 


prising Travels'on the Banks of the Parana and Rio do 
la Plata. By J. P. and W. F. ROBEKTSON. 3 vols. post 
8vo, 28*. Gd. 


PAS and among the Andes. By SIR FRANCIS B. HEAD, 
Bart. Third Edition, post 8vo, 9*. 6rf. 


K.C.H. Map. 8vo, 18*. 

MR. MURRAY'S LIST OF BOOKS. Voyages and Travels. 



PACIFIC TO THE ATLANTIC, crossing the Andes in 
the Northern Provinces of Peru, and descending the great 
River Maranon. By HENRY LISTKR MAW, B.N. 8vo, 12s. 

Horth America. 



from the River Potomac, by Baltimore in Maryland, to 
Texas and the Frontiers of Mexico. By G. W. FBATHER- 
STONHAUGH, Esq. With Plates. 2 vols. 8vo, 26*. 

"His notices of the natural history of the districts through 
which he passed are novel and interesting, particularly his 
nccount of the mines, and his other geological memoranda : 
and his occasional pictures of theheroes of thejbowie knife, 
the gentleman slave breeders, and various strange species 
of the genus homo he met with during his travels are re- 
markably characteristic and entertaining." New Monthly 

xxxv r. ' 

THE GULF OF MEXICO, during the Year 1843. By 
Mrs. HOUSTOUN. With Plates. 2 vols. post 8vo. 21*. 

"Worth a cart-load of modern travels." Morning 

" A work which every one should read." Times. 

Second Edition. Post 8vo, 10. 


PER CANADA: for the Use of Emigrants. Third 
Edition. Fcap. 8vo, 1*. 6rf. 


With an Account of the Cod Fishery Fog Banks Sealing 
Expedition, &c. ; and a Geological Survey of the Island. 
By J. B. JUKES, Esq. Map. 2 vols. post 8vo, 2J*. 

UNITED STATES. Written during a Journey in North 
America. By J. R. GOD LEY, Esq. 2 vols. post 8 vo. 16*. 

" Here is at least one English book of which the Ame- 
ricans cannot reasonably complain." Athenaeum. 

" The production of a sensible and intelligent traveller." 
.Eclectic Review. 



By ROBERT GRBENHOW, Librarian to the Department of 
State of the United States. Map. 8vo. 16*. 


From the German. By Capt. A. C. STERLING. Fcap. 8vo. Bt. 

" Lively and comprehensive." Atheneeum. 

" A record of worth and utility." Literary Gazette. 


Described from a Year's Residence in that Country, chiefly 
in the Interior. By the Rev. R. LISTER V ENABLES, M.A. 
Post 8vo, 9*. 6d. 


with a Few Hints to the Salmon Fisher in Norway. By 
JOHN MILFORD, Esq. 8vo, 10*. 6d. 


Described from Notes made during a Journey to these 
Countries. By the EARL OK CARNARVON. Second Edition. 
2 vols. postlivo, 21*. 

" A work of superior ability, interest, and value." 
Unilfd Service Journal. 

"These lively and various pages." Athenaeum. 


Or the Journeys, Adventures, and Imprisonments of an 
Englishman in an Attempt to circulate the Scriptures 
in the Peninsula. By GKORGE BORROW, Esq. Jfourlh 
Edition. 3 vols. post 8vo, 27*. 

" Mr. Borrow has come out as an English Author of 
high mark. We are reminded of Gil Bias, in the narratives 
of this pious, single-hearted man." Quarterly Review. 

Alto a Cheap Edition for the Coloniet. Post Svo,5t. 



Their Manners and Customs, Religion and Language. By 
GKORGB BORROW, Esq. Third Edition. 2 vols. postSvo, 18*. 

" A curious, a very curious work, and contains some of 
the most singular, yet authentic descriptions of the gipsy 
race which have ever been given to the public." Literary 

" Evidently the work of a man of uncommon and highly 
interesting endowments." Quarterly Review. 


With Remarks on the Social and Political Condition of that 
Country. By PETER EVAN TURNBULL, Esq. 2 vols. 8vo, 24*. 


BARROW, Esq. Woodcuts. PostBvo, 10*. M. 
"Agreeably written, faithful and minute." Athenceum. 


NASSAU. By AN OLD MAN. Sixth Edition. IGmo, 5*. 
" Just suited for the pocket and for the Khine Travel- 
lers." Athenaeum. 


Showing what may be done in a Tour of Sixteen Months 
upon the Continent of Europe. Post 8vo, 8*. 6d. 


amidst the wildest Scenes of the FRENCH and SPANISH 
PostSvo, 10*. 6d. 

"Contain better descriptive passages, strikingly pic- 
turesque, and without the least strain and effort, than we 
recollect in any book of the same light pretension." 



described in a Series of Letters. By A LADY. 2 vols. 
Post 8vo, 18*. 


MANDY, with some Remarks on Norman Architecture. 
By H.G. KNIGHT, M.P. Second Edition. Plates. Post vo. 


With Sketches of HISTORY, LITERATURB, and ART. By 
CATHARINE TAYLOR. Second Edition. 2 vols. post 8 vo, 17*. 
" A more pleas-int and instructive book, to assist in that 
higher branch of education, cannot be imagined." 


ITALY. By COLONEL and MRS. STISTED. With Illustra- 
tions. 8vo. Nearly ready, 


the Channel Islands and Isle of Man. By Sir GEOKGB 
HBAD. Third Edition. 2 vols. post 8vo, 12*. 



Giving detailed and precise Information respecting Steamers, Passports, Moneys, Guides and Servants, 
toith Directions for Travellers, and Hints for Tours. 



With all the necessary information for Travellers in that 
Country, and on the Overland Passage to India, By Sir 
GARDNER WILKINSON. Woodcuts and Map. 2vols. 8vo, 42*. 






from VLM to the BLACK SEA. Map. Post 8vo, 10*. 


ALPS of SAVOY and PIEDMONT. Map. PostSvo, 10*. 


LAND. A Scries of Maps and Plans of the most fre- 
quented Roads, Cities, and Towns, &c. Engraved and 
coloured. Svols. PostSvo. Vol. 1, 12*., vol. 2,9*., vol. 3, 6*. 


and Plans. Post 8vo, 12*. 


CONSTANTINOPLE. Maps. PostSvo, 15*. 


BARDY, and TUSCANY. Map. Post 8vo, 12*. 


Maps. Post 8vo, 15*. 

SICILY, AND NAPLES. Map. Post 8vo. Nearly ready. 


Being a short and easily intelligible guide, pointing out 
to the unlearned the leading styles of Art. From the 
German of KUGLER. Post 8vo, 12*. 


PROVENCE, and the PYRENEES. Map. Post 8vo, 12*. 



Post 8vo. Nearly Ready. 



&c. Map. Post 8vo. Nearly ready. 


8vo. In preparation. 


cally arranged, to facilitate reference. Map. Post 8vo. 
In preparation. 


LERIES OF ART in and near London. With Catalogues 
of the Pictures, accompanied byHistorical and Biographical 
Notices. By MRS. JAMESON. Post 8vo. 


and NEIGHBOURHOOD ; a Road-Book to the Palace 
and Guide to the Picture Gallery and Gardens. By 
EDWARD JESSE, Esq. Fifth Edition. Woodcuts. Fcap. 
8vo, 2*. 6d. 



a Guide to the Palace, Picture Gallery, and Gardens. By 
EDWARD JESSE, Esq. Second Edition. Woodcuts. Fcap. 
Ovo, 2*. Grf. 



TIONS. By PETER CUNNINGHAM, Esq. Woodcuts. Fcap. 
8vo, 2*. 6d. 



" Mr. Murray's series of Handbooks seem destined to embrace all the sights of the world." Spectator. 

" The useful series of Handbooks issued by Mr. Murray." Examiner. 

" Mr. Murray's excellent series. Compiled with great care. The information full and satisfactory." Athenaeum. 

" Well considered, well arranged, and well compressed. They combine every practical information, with satisfac- 
tory descriptions and extracts from the most accomplished travellers, unencumbered with long historical details, 
which not unfrequently are uselessly intruded into these manuals." Gentleman's Magazinr. 

"An immense quantity of minute and useful information respecting all places of interest, presented in a plain, 
unostentatious and intelligible manner." United Service Gazette. 

" All the information a traveller requires ; and supplies an answer to every difficulty which can possibly arise." 

" An excellent plan, and contains much in little compass, and is an amusing resource when the road is dull and 
our companion has fallen asleep." Asiatic Journal. 

" A world of useful information." British Magazine, 

" Capital puides ! A man may traverse half the continent of Europe with them without asking a question." 
Literary Gazette. 

" Distinguished for the clearness of their arrangement, the specific character of their directions, the quantity and 
quality of the matter they contain, as well as for the style and finish of the literary workmanship." Spectator. 

MR. MURRAY'S LIST OF BOOKS. Classical and School Books. 



(3Librarp (CDttfon,) 

Comprising his Poetry, Letters, and Journals. Collected 
and arranged with Notes by Scott, Jeffrey, Wilson, Heher, 
Lockhart, Ellis, Campbell, Milman, &c. By THOMAS 
MOORE, Esq. Plates. 17 vols. fcap. 8vo, 5s. each. 


(Uocfect Uition.) 
With Plates. 10 vols. 18mo, 25*. 


(Crawling CUttlon.) 

With Portraits and Views. New and cheaper Edition. 
Royal 8vo, 15*. 


(Illustrates C-Bttion.) 

With Sixty Vignette Engravings by eminent Artists 
from Sketches made on the spot, expressly to illustrate 
the Poem. A New Edition. Demy 8vo, 21*. 

" A splendid work worth illustrating, and worthily 
illustrated." Athentevm. 

"A volume of rare excellence." Literary Gazette. 


(Docket EBition.) 




4. LARA. 


6. BEPPO. 





2 vols. 241110, 5*., or separately, 6d. each. 


03 ocfcet ismtion.) 



7. CAIN. 





1 vols. 24mo, 7*-i or separately at Gd. and 1*. each. 


(Docket (Coition.) 
With an Engraved Title. 24mo, 2*. Gd. 

His Life, Letters, and Journals. By his SON. 

Plates. 8 vols. fcap. 8vo, Ss. each. 

"Nature's sternest painter, yet the best." Lord Byron. 

" Crabbe's delineations of the passions are so just." 




With Biographical and Critical Notices, and an Essay 
on English Poetry. By THOMAS CAMPBELL, Esq. Portrait 
and Plate. New Edition. Royal 8vo, 15*. 

"A volume rich in exquisite examples of English 
poetry, and suggestive of delightful thoughts beyond any 
similar volume in the language." Atlas. 


By HENRY RKKVE, Esq. Post 8vo, 4*. 
Mr. Reeve's graceful production." Athenauin. 

and ROMANTIC. Translated by J. G. LOCKHART, Esq. 
Third Edition, with illuminated Titles, Coloured Borders, 
Vignettes, &c. 4to. 21. 2*. 

The very fine and animated translations of Mr. Lock-: 
hart." Hallam's Literary History. 

"A more appropriately as well as beautifully embellished 
volume never was offered to the world." Edinburgh 

"The illustrations are carried throughout with a luxury 
of decoration unexampled in this country." Athenaeum. 


Third Edition. Portrait. Fcap. 8vo, 7*. Gil. 

" Bishop Heber has taken a graceful station among the 
favoured bards of the day." Literary Gazette. 

Rev. H. H. MILMAN. Second Edition. Plates. 3 vols. 
fcap. 8vo, 18*. 

"A fine, classical, moral, and religious poet." Literary 


Fcap. 8vo, 6*. 


By JAMES ' and HORACE SMITH. With Notes by the 
Authors. Twentieth Edition. Portraits. Fcap. 8vo. 6*. 6d. 
" The happiest jeu d' esprit of its kind in our day, has its 
merits attested by the extraordinary words, 'Twentieth 
edition.' " Literary Gazelle. 


By the late Miss ELIZABETH SMITH. With a Memoir by 
H. M. BOWDLER. New Edition. Post 8vo, 10*. 6d. 

WRITERS. With Biographical Notices. By SARAH 
AUSTIN. Post 8vo, 10*. 

"A delightful volume." Athentcum. 

" Mrs. Austin has done good service to English litera- 
ture by the publication of these fragments." Examiner. 

EDWARD TAYLOR. Fcap. 8vo, 2s. 6d. 

"Translated with elegance." Spectator. 

Selected and Edited by his SON. Plates by CRUIKSHANK. 
Second Edition. Fcap. 8vo, 5*. 



RACE. Translated from MULI.BR, by TUPNBL and LEWIS. 
Second Edition. Maps. 2 vols. 8vo, 2C*. 

" We close the volumes in admiration of the author's 
unwearied industry and great knowledge." New Monthly 


By the Rev. JOHN WILLIAMS, Rector of the Edinburgh 
Academy, and Archdeacon of Cardigan. 8vo, Id*. (>il. 

WALL LEWIS, A.M. New Edition. 8vo, 12*. 

MR. MURRAY'S LIST OF BOOKS. Art, Science, &.c. 

By AufiusTUS MATTIII.TC. Translated from the German by 
BLOMFIELD. Fifth Edition. Revised by KKNRICK. 2 vols. 
8vo, 30*. 

' The Fifth Edition of Matthix's Greek Grammar exhi- 
bits by far the most complete system of grammatical rules 
and examples that have yet been given to the world, em- 
bodying the latest results of the scholarship of the present 

AUTHORS contained in the FIFTH EDITION OF 
8vo, "it. 6d. 


A Critical Examination of the Meaning and Etymology of 
various Greek Words and Passages in Homer, Ilesiod, 
and other Greek Writers. Translated with Notes by 
FISHLAKB. Second Edition. 8vo, 14*. 

" A most able disquisition. It contains a deeper and 
more critical knowledgeof Greek, moreextensive research, 
and more sound judgment, than we ever remember to 
have seen in any one work before." Quarterly Review. 

REGULAR GREEK VERBS ; with all the Tensfis that 
are Extant their Formation, Meaning, and Usage, ac- 
companied by a Complete Index. Translated with Notes, 
by FISHLAKK. Second Edition. 8vo, 7*. GiJ. 

" Buttman's Catalogue contains all those prominent 
irregularities so fully and fundamentally investigated, that 
I was convinced a translation of them would prove a va- 
luable assistant to every lover and student of Greek lite- 
rature." Preface. 

Edited, with English Notes, by THOMAS MITCHELL, Esq. 
8vo, l(i*. each. 1. WASPS. 2. KNIGHTS. 3. CLOUDS. 
4. FROGS. 8vo, 15*. 

A New Edition of the Test, edited with English Notes, by 
T. WILLIAMSON PKILE, D. D., Head Master of Repton 
School. Second Edition. 8vo, 9*. 

A New Edition of the Text. Edited, with English Notes, 
by T. WILLIAMSON PEILK, D.D. Second Edition. 8vo, 9*. 
" By far the most useful edition ever puU.ished in this 
country." Oxford Herald. 

by W. R. HAMILTON, F.R.S. 2 vols. post 8vo, 4*. &*. each. 


ANCIENT GREEKS. Translated from the German of 
HENRY HASE. Fcap. 8vo, 5s. 6d. 

"Some work appeared to be wanting on Grecian Anti- 
quities, which, without being unnecessarily diffuse, should 
give a notion of the discoveries of modern scholars, and 
particularly of German scholars." Preface. 


Late Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, 8vo. 7*. <Jd. 

ANCIENT WRITINGS discovered on the WALLS and 
WORTH, D.D. AVith Woodcuts. 8vo, 5*. 

COLERIDGE, M.A. Second Edition. Fcap. 8vo, 7*. Grf. 


Edition, reviled. 12mo, 3*. 6d. 


Abridged from MATTHI.E by BLOMFIELD. New Edition, 
revised by EDWARDS. 12mo, 3s. 

" The Editor has endeavoured to substitute shorter and 
more simple definitions and explanations than those which 
are contained in the original work." Bishop of London's 


MINORA. 12mo, I*. &i. Part 2, including the Syntax. 
12uio, 2*. 

designed for early proficients in the Art of Latin Versifica- 
tion, with Prefatory Rules of Composition in Elegiac 
Metre. By the Rev. W. OXENHAM, M.A,, Second Master 
of Harrow School. 12mo, 4*. 

MICHAEL, Classical Master in the Edinburgh Academy. 
Second Edition. Post 8vo, 8*. 6d. 

" The author has displayed much industry and scholar, 
ship, and left few sources of information unexplored. To 
the authorities for particular verbal forms, he has contri- 
buted largely, and has rendered his book a storehouse of 
facts of the utmost value to the student and critic." 
Tail's Magazine. 

" Little less than a complete lexicon of the language, in 
so far as the verb is concerned. Those who possess it will 
scarcely require any other dictionary to explain the mean- 
ing or unfold the parts, or discover the different construc- 
tions of this the most essential element of speech." Scot- 
tish Literary Gazette. 


Including Exercises and Vocabularies. By the Rev. 
WALTER p. POWELL, M.A., Head Master of the Grammar 
School at Clitheroe. 12mo, 3*. OJ. 


GUAGE, for Beginners as well as the more advanced 
Learner. By G. M. HEILNER. 12mo, 10*. 
"An excellent practical introduction." Spectator. 




during the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. Taken 
from the principal Works of the greatest Painters, never 
before engraved. With English Descriptions, by Louis 
GKVXER. With Forty-five Plates, Folio. Plain or Co- 

" In the magnificent folio work just published by Mr. 
Gruner, upon the fresco-arabesques and painted decora- 
tions of the churches and palaces of Italy, we shall have 
opportunities for enjoy ing and studying the brightest gems 
of decorative art." 

" This work is exactly what we most required, reflecting 
the highest honour upon Mr. Gruner, and is likely to 
create a complete revolution in British decorative design." 
Mr. CHABBE'S Lecture. 


MR. MURRAY'S LIST OF COOKS. General literature. 

their Lives, Acts, Characters, Attribute!', &c., as Illus- 
trated by Art, from the earliest Ages. By Mrs. JAMESON. 
Post 8vo. In the Press. 


From the Age of Constantino the Great to the present 
Time. Translated from the German of KL-GLBR. By a 
LADY ; and Edited, with Notes, by C. L. EASTLAKB, R. A. 
" Intended to supply a want long felt by persons endea- 
vouring to acquire a knowledge of the Early History and 
Progress of the art of Painting, which no other English 

work supplies, viz., a short and easily intelligible guide 
pointing out to the unlearned the leading styles of Art." 


late SIR CHARLES BELL. A New and Enlarged Edition 
with Engravings and Woodcuts. Imperial Svo, 21*. 
" The artist, the writer of fiction, the dramatist, th 
man of taste, will receive the present work (which is go 
up with an elegance worthy of its subject) with gratitude 
and peruse it with a lively and increasing interest au( 
delight." Christian Remembrancer, 



Being Instructions to Students In Chemistry, on the 
Methods of performing Experiments of Demon st7-ation or 
.Research, with accuracy and success. By MICHAEL 
FARADAY, F.R.S. TJtird Edition. Svo, 18*. 

" No student should think of commencing the study of 
practical chemistry without having previously possessed 
this indispensable guide." Provincial Medical Journal. 

By CHARLES BABBAGE, Esq. Second Edition. Svo, <Js. 6d. 

Edition. Fcap. Svo, 6*. 


NATURAL NUMBERS from 1 to 108000. By CHARLES 
BABBAGE, Esq. Second Edition. Royal Svo. G*. 


Fcap. Svo, 10*. Grf. 

" The style of this astonishing production is so clear and 
unaffected, and conveys with so much simplicity so great 
a mass of profound knowledge, that it should be placed in 
the hands of every youth the moment he has mastered the 
general rudiments of education." Quarterly Review. 


Deduced from the Circle, and Geometrically Demon- 
strated. By the DUKE OF SOMERSET. With 80 Diagrams, 
Svo, 9*. 6d. 

*** An Edition for Schools, I2mo, 3t. 


ING ; for the Use of Young Officers and Others. By G 
D. BUKR, Esq. 8vo, 10s. Q.-1. 


VARIOUS SCIENCES. Sfeto Edition. Fcap. 8vo, 6. Gd! 

WITHOUT INSTRUMENTS. Woodcuts. 8vo, 2s. Gd. 


For the Instruction and Examination of Officer?, and fo 
the Training of Seamen Gunners. By MAJOK-GENEKA 
SIR HOWARD DOUGLAS. Second Edition. Svo, 15*. 

F.G.S., Commissioner for the Crown under the Dean 
Forest Mining Act. With Woodcuts, Fcap. Svo, price If. 

YORK and OXFORD, 1831-32, 13*. 6d. CAMBRIDGE, 1833, 12* 
EDINBURGH, 1834, 15*. DUBLIN, 183T>, 13*. 6<1. BRISTOL, 
1833, 12*. LIVERPOOL, 1837, 16*. 6d. NEWCASTLE, 1833, 
15*. BIRMINGHAM, 1839, 13*. 6d. GLASGOW, 1840, 15*. 
PLYMOUTH, 1841, 13*. Gd. MANCHESTER, 1842, 10*. (M. 8vo. 

lated from M. DUFRENOV, Director-General of Mines in 
France. With Plates. Svo, as. G<l. 



By A LADY. Second Edition. Portrait. Fcap. Svo, 4*. Gd. 

"So much life an;! reality." Athenaeum. 

"Told in an unaffected manner, and the characters are 
well drawn." Spectator. 


ABBRCBOMBIE, M.D. Tenth Edition. Post 8vo. Price St.Gd. 


1. Family Life; 2. Social Lifo ; 3. Studious Life; 4. 
Active Life; 5. Political Life: C. Moral Life; 7- Reli- 
gious Life. By GBOKOB LONG, Esq. Post 8vo. 


Fcnp. Svo, 5*. 


By J. STAMFOBD CALIJWELL, Esq., M.A., Barnster-at-Law. 
Svo, 10*. W. 

"The common- place hoolt of an intelligent, well-read 
man. We cannot imagine more delightful or profitable 
reading for those whose access to books, or time to devote 
to them, happens to be limited." Examiner. 

By the late WILLIAM TAYLOR, of Norwich. Jfew Edition, 
revited and augmented. By J. W. ROBBERDS, Esq. Jjvo. 
In Preparation. 

MR. MURRAY'S LIST OF BOOKS. Natural History, &.c. 


HAWKESTONE ; a Tale of and for England 
the Year 184 2 vols. fcap. Svo. 


n the 15th, 16th, and 17th Centuries. By HENRY HALLAM, 
Esq. Second Edition. 3 vols. Svo, 36t. 

" To all lovers of literature this work will be acceptable ; 
o the young, we conceive, invaluable." Quarterly 

"The most important contribution to literary Jiistory 
hich English libraries have received for many years." 
Edinburgh Review. 

from British Indian History. By J. F. DAVIS, Esq. 
Fcap. Svo, 3*. 6d. 

" The whole of this spirit-stirring little volume is well 
entitled to perusal." Naval and Military Gazette. 

OF MAN. By GEORGE LONO. Post Svo, Gt, 


ENGLAND. Chronologically arranged from the Reign 
f William I. to the Involution in 1688. By CHARLES 
HENRY PARRY, M.D. Svo, 30*. 


" A masterpiece of lucid arrangement, of logical state- 
ments, and of vigorous reasoning." Examiner. 

RICHARD JONES, M.A., Caius College, Cambridge. Second 
Edition. Post Svo, 7*. Gd. 


and the Working of the New Bank Charter Act. By 
JOHN FULLARTON, Esq. Second Edition. Svo, 7t. Gd. 


By Sir ROBERT PEEL. 8vo, 3t. 


By the late LORD CONGLETON. fourth Edition. 18mo,7*.6rf. 


DUTIES. Svo. 1*. 6d. 


OF RUSSIA IN THE EAST. New Edition, with a Map 
showing the Encroachments of Russia. Svo, Gs. 

By SARAH AUSTIN. Fcap. Svo, 3*. 6d. 



With a Journal of a Tour in 1841-2. By CHARLES LYELL, 
Esq. With Illustrations. 8vo. In Preparation. 


Or, the Ancient Changes of the Earth and its Inhabitants, 
considered as Illustrative of Geology. By CHARLES LYELL, 
F.G.S. Second Edition. Woodcuts, &c. 2 vols. 12mo, 18*. 

Or, the Modern Changes of the Earth and its Inhabitants, 
considered as Illustrative of Geology. By CHARLES LYELL, 
F.G.S. Sixth Edition. Woodcuts, &c. 3 vols. 12mo, 24*. 

" Very interesting and amusing, and should be read by 
every one who takes an interest in this rising branch of 
Natural History." Jameson's Journal. 

" A work that supersedes every other on geology." 
New Monthly Magazine. 

MOUNTAINS, Geologically Illustrated. By R. I. MUR- 
CHISON, President of the Geological Society, M. ED. DB 
Tables, Woodcuts, Sections, &c. 4to. Nearly Ready. 

YORKSHIRE COAST. Plates and Map. 4to, I/. 11*. Gd. 


Map and 25 Plates. 4to, 21. 12*. Gd. 

By EDWARD JESSE, Esq. With Anecdotes of the Sagacity 
and Instinct of Animals, and Extracts from the Unpub- 
lished Journals of GILBERT WHITE, of Selborne. Fifth 
Edition. Woodcuts. Fcap. Svo, C*. 6rf. 


CHISON, Esq., V.P.R.S. A New Edition, augmented and 
revised by H. E. STRICKLAND, M.A., and JAMES BUCKMAN, 
F.G.S. With Plates. Svo. 


LIFE, with Recollections of Natural History. Second 
Edition. By EDWARD JKSSK, Esq. Woodcuts. Post Svo, 12*. 

41 One of the most valuable additions that have been 
recently made to our practical knowledge in the Natural 
History of our own country ; and were we to follow our own 
feelings, we should transcribe a very large portion to our 
pages." Gentleman's Magazine. 


Fourth Edition, with Woodcuts. Post Svo, 9*. Gd. 
" A book that ought to find its way into every rural 
drawing-room in the kingdom, and one that may safely be 
placed in every lady's boudoir." Quarterly Review. 

BRITISH BELEMNlTES.with Essays on their Geological 
Distribution. By JOHN PHILLIPS, F.R.S. Part I. Svo, 5*. 


Fcap. Svo, 8*. 

" To any one who wishes to comprehend the names and 
nature of plants, this charming volume can be safely re- 
commended . " Spectator. 

" So treated as to render the subject easily understood 
by the meanest capacity." Gardeners' Gazette. 

" Much valuable information." Naval and Military 


Mn. MURRAY'S LIST OF BOOKS. Education, &.c. 


HENRY HALFORD, Bart., M.D. Third Edition. Fcap. Sfo, 
Gt. Gd. 

With an Accouot of the best Places of Resort for Invalids. 
By SIR JAMES CLAKK, Bart., M.D. Third Edition, revised. 
PostSvo, 10*. Gd. 


Contents: Powers of Life to Sustain Surgical Opera- 
tions Different Effects of Bleeding Squinting, and the 
Remedy Tio-Douloureux Nerves of Inspiration 
Powers circulating the Blood Diseases of the Spine. 
By Sir CHARLES BELL, 2 Parts, Ovo, 12*. Gd. 

8vo. 5*. Gd. 



By JOHN AHEHCKOMBIE, M.D. Third Edition. Fcap. 8vo. 6 


M.D. Second Edition. 8vo, 12*. 


Post 8vo, 9*. 6d. 


LAND, from the First Invasion , by the Romans, to the 
Accession of Queen VICTORIA. For the Use of Young 
Persons. Eleventh Edition. Woodcuts. 12mo, Is. Gd. 

from the Conquest of Gaul by Julius Csesar, to the Reign 
of Louis-Philippe. For the Use of Young Persons. Sixth 
Edition. Woodcuts. 12mo. 7s. 6d. 

"These works are constructed on a plan which is novel 
and we think well chosen, and we are glad to find that 
they are deservedly popular, for they cannot be too strongly 
recommended, as adapted for the perusal of youth." 
Journal of Education. 


author of " Biblical Researches in tlie Holy Land." 12mo. 
In preparation. 


TO HER UNCLE IN ENGLAND. Comprising a variety 
of Interesting Information, arranged for every Day in the 
Year. Fifth Edition. 12mo, 7*.6d. 

" I am reading ' Bertha ' with the utmost avidity. I can 
scarcely take my attention from this, the best of all juve- 
nile compilations." Rev. George Crabbe. 

" An excellent little work." Capt. Basil Hall. 


IN EARNEST ; or the First Principles of Natural Philo- 
sophy inculcated by Aid of the ordinary Toys and Sports of 
Youth. Fifth Edition. Woodcuts. Fcap. 8vo, 8*. 

" We know of no other book which so charmingly blends 
amusement with instruction. No juvenile book has been 
published in our time more entitled to praise." Examiner. 

LAND. By the late Lady CALLCOTT. Seventh Edition. 
Woodcuts. 18 mo, 3t. 

"This little History was written fora real little Arthur, 
and I have endeavoured to write it as I would tell it to an 
intelligent child. 1 well remember what I wanted to be 
told myself in addition to what I found in my lesson- 
books when first allowed to read the History of England." 
Author's Preface. 

" Lady Callcott's style is of the right kind j earnest and 
simple." Examiner. 


ENGLAND, FOR CHILDREN. 27i irteenlh Edit. 18mo,3. 


Seventh Edition. Fcap. 8vo, 2*. Gd. 


Third Edition. 12mo, 2s. 


An Attempt to render the Chief Events of the Life of 
Our Saviour intelligent and profitable to Young Children. 
Second Edition. 18mo, 3*. Gd. 


Suited to the tastes of Little and Grown Children. By 
OTTO SPECKTBR. With 12 Illustrations. 4to, 7s. G<1. 

"Twelve designs full of excellent humour." Examiner. 

" Not mere sketches, but complete pictures, and tell the 
story with dramatic force." Spectator. 

" These designs tell the story excellently well." 

"A book for kindly remembrances." Literary Gazette. 


FOR YOUNG PERSONS, Arranged for each Month. By 
Mrs. LOUDON. With 40 Woodcuts. 18mo, 4*. 

" It must be agreeable to many parents to know that 
Mrs. London has begun to apply her excellent talents and 
extensive knowledge of natural history, to the service of 
the young. This is the first volume she has given to the 
juvenile world, and it is a very delightful one." 
Chambers' Edinburgh Journal. 


With Sketches of Nelson, Wellington, and Napoleon ; in the 
style of" STORIES FOR CHILDREN." 18mo, Zs. Gd. 



MARIA EDGEWORTH. Woodcuts. 2*. Gd. 

" These tales display the same interest and truth to na- 
ture which have raised Miss Edgeworth to the head of all 
writers for children." Westminster Review. 


in English, French, Italian, and German. For the daily Use 
of Young Persons. By a LADY. ICmo, 3*. Gd. 

"The design of this volume is excellent." Atlas. 

"An excellent design." Literary Gaxette. 

MR. MURRAY'S LIST OF BOOKS. Domestic Economy. 




A new system, suited to the present advanced state of the 
art, but founded upon principles of economy and practical 
knowledge, and adapted to the use of Private Families. 
By a LADY (Mrs. RUNDELL). The ffjth Edition, im- 
proved by the addition 0/900 new Receipts, and a Chap- 
ter on Indian Cookery. By EMMA ROBERTS. Fcap. Svo, 6*. 

** Of this icork 310,000 copies have been sold. 

" One of the most practically useful books we have seen 
on the subject." British Critic. 

" This is the sixty. seventh edition of the celebrated 
work of Mrs. Rundell, which has now so long been the 
standard work of reference in every private family in 
English Society. The new edition has been committed to 
a lady well versed in the art of cookery, and large addi- 
tions have been made, consistent with the spirit which 
gave popularity to the \\oi\i." Worcestershire Guardian. 

" This work was originally compiled by Mrs. Rundell, 
solely for the use of her own daughters, but, like other 
good works, it was not destined long to be under a 
bushel, and she accepted 2000 guineas from Mr. Murray, 
and gave her receipts to the public." Hull Advertiser. 

A very neat edition of this popular cookery-book, ren- 
dered a complete guide for modern cooks by the addition 
of nearly a thousand receipts, suited to the present ad- 
vanced state of the art." Derby Reporter. 

" This is a new edition, being the sixty-seventh, and 
still it is called a new system, and justly so, for in point of 
excellence as to cookery, and economy in expenditure, it 
leaves no room to any rival. The present editor has 
added nearly 1000 entirely new receipts, given in a plain, 
concise, and explicit manner." Keane's Oath Journal. 

"Another edition of this well-known and generally- 
admitted very useful book has just issued from the press. 
No housekeeper ought to be without this book, which is 
adapted to every grade of society the rich, the middle 
classes, and the poor." Durham Adnertiser. 

" Some time bark we noticed a .fifty-eighth edition of 
Mrs. Rundell's excellent SVSTKM OK DOMKSTIC COOKERY. 
We have now received the sixty- seventh a statement 
which is, we presume, sufficient in itself to refute the 
assertion of Dr. Johnson, that, although 'women can spin 
very well, they cannot write a book of cookery.' The 
editress of the present edition has added numerous 
receipts, which have imparted to the original work all the 
improvement of which it was capable." Brighton Gazette. 


A Collection of more than a Thousand truly valuable 
Receipts in various Branches of Domestic Economy. New 
Edition. Fcap. 8vo, 5*. 6d. 

" A larger quantity of truly valuable mat'er than any 
book of the same kind ever contained." British Critic. 

"There are few things which the reader can seek for on 
which he will not find some useful information." Monthly 


By M. CAREME, some time Chief of the Kitchen to his 
Majesty George IV. Translated by WILLIAM HALL. 
Second Edition. With 73 Plates, 8vo, 15*. 


Containing Examples selected with the greatest care, and 
arranged so as to render them easy to a Novice in the Art. 
By Miss LAMBERT. Fourth Edition. IGmo, 1*. 6W. 

MY CROCHET SAMPLER ; being New and 
Choice Examples of Crochet, arranged with the greatest 
care. By Miss LAMBERT. Second Edition. Woodcuts. 
ICmo. 2s. Od. 


Practical Instructions and Directions for every Month 
in the Year ; with a Calendar of Operations. By Mrs. 
Loi'DON. Sixth Edition. Woodcuts. Fcap. 8vo. 6*. 

" This charming little book ought to find its way into 
every cottage and mansion in the country." Atlas. 

"Thoroughly practical, and distinguished by great good 
sense." Gloucester Chronicle. 

" A most valuable little book." Bar A Chronicle. 

" Mrs. Loudon's little volume fulfils every promise, and 
is a perfect vade mecum of the art in all its branches." 
Literary Gazette. 

" Mrs. Loudon (the wife of the celebrated writer) has 
written a most useful and agreeable Manual for Ladies on 
Gardening, which cannot be too extensively known." 
Salopian Journal. 

" Written with such simple eloquence and truth, it is 
enough to make one fall in love with gardening and 
flowers. 1 ' Dublin Monitor. 

" This volume is a faithful and intelligent guide. Mrs. 
Loudon gives the result of ten years' instructions by her 
husband, the well-known horticulturist; and her work is 
consequently the fruit of long practice and experience." 
Edinburyh Evening Post. 

A Complete Guide to every Kind of Decorative Needle- 
work, Crochet, Knitting, and Netting, with a brief 
Historical Account of each Art, By Miss LAMBERT. 
Fourth Edition. With 115 Woodcuts. Post 8vo, 10*. ed. 

" We recommend it as containing a great deal of prac- 
tical information. The historical portion is gracefully and 
well written, and the work is instructive and amusing." 

" The most curious, complete, and erudite treatise on 
the art of needle-work that has, probably, ever been com- 
piled." Atlas. 

"An eminently practical work ; clear in its explanations, 
precise in its directions, natural in its arrangements." 

Remarks on its Preparation and Arrangement. By Miss 
LAMBERT. With numerous Engravings. Post 8vo, 9*. 6d- 

" A book on a good subject, full of instruction and inte. 
rest." Cambridge Chronicle. 

" Worthy of a place in every Christian gentleman's 
library." Oxford Herald. 


Plain Instructions for Rearing all Sorts of Domestic Poul- 
try ; with the best Mode of Managing the Dairy and Pig- 
gery. By the Author of " British Husbandry." Woodcuts. 
Fcap. 8vo, 8*. 

" A beautifully got up little work, containing a variety 
of useful and interesting matter, and forming an excellent 
guide to the poultry-yard, dairy, and piggery. 1 ' Derby 

" A very interesting little volume, abounding with most 
valuable hints in every branch of domestic economy." 
Reading Mercury. 

" This substantial guide to the poultry-yard, the dairy, 
and the piggery, is neither intended for the mere cottager 
nor for persons of large fortune, but for those ladies in the 
middle ranks of life who study healthful domestic economy, 
either for the pleasure or the profit which it affords. The 
volume is appropriately preceded by two illustrations of 
HER MAJKSTI'S POULTRY-YARD. We cordially welcome 
the volume. 1 ' Newcastle Journal. 

" A truly excellent book, produced in the best possible 
style. It is full of information." Naval and Military 



ART OF DEER-STALKING ; Illustrated by a 
Narrative of a few Days' Sport in the Forest of Atholl ; with 
some Account of the Nature and Habits of the Reed Der.and 
a short Description of the Scottish Forests, Legends, Super- 
stitions, Stories of Poachers, Freebooters, &c. By WILLIAM 
SCROPE, F.L.S. Plates by LANDSEEB. Second Edition. 
Hoyal Svo, 21. 2*. 

" Brief and imperfect as the preceding abstract is, we 
think that it will fully justify the high praise we have be- 
stowed on this work, and induce our readers to sit down to 
the luxurious repast from which we have risen." 
Edinburgh Review. 

" Has all the charm of an autobiography, combined 
with that of a series of excellent unaffected lectures on the 
science of the chase." Quarterly Review. 


in the Tweed, with a short Account of the Natural History 
and Habits of the Salmon. By WILLIAM SCROPE, Esq., F.L.S. 
Royal 8vo, 42*. 


By NIMROD. Second Edition, with Plates by ALKEN and 
GILBERT. Post 8vo, 9*. Gd. 

By RICHARD PENN, F.R.S. Second Edition. With 24 Plates. 
Fcap. 8vo, 5*. 

"They have the air of novelty, and charm by their preg. 
nant brevity, sly sarcasm, and oily raciness." Quarterly 


tical Hints on Highland Sports, and the Habits of the 
Different Creatures of Game and Prey ; with Instructions 
in River, Burn, and Loch Fishing. By JOHN COLQUHOUN.- 
Second Edition, with Plates. 8vo, 9*. 6d. 

"Devoted to the sports of the Highland hills, and with, 
a treatment worthy of the subject."- Examiner. 

"Unpretending, clear, and practical, and does honour 
to the ' parent lake.' The book breathes of the mountain^ 
and the flood, and will carry the sportsman back to the 
days of his youth." Quarterly Review. 



Arranged on a New and Kasy Method. By the Author 
of "British Husbandry." 4lo, 10*. 

A Treatise on the Nature and Value of Animal and Vege- 
table Manure*. By F. FALKNER, Esq. Fcap. 8vo, 6*. Gd. 

" A very useful book." Lord Palmerstun. 

" A valuable work for farmers ; in which the materials, 
character, and elements of farm-yard manure, are laid 
down in a forcible manner." British. Farmer's Magazine. 

" Will be read with avidity for its valuable information." 
Farmer's Herald. 

" Addressed to the practical fanner, and written as such 
books ought to be." Dell's Messenger. 

" Of great value, and ought to be the pocket-companion 
of every iaimer." Derbyshire Courier. 

AND IRRIGATION. By the Author of "British Hus. 
bandry." Second Edition. 8vo, Us. 

GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND; with Extracts from, 
the Parliamentary Reports and Evidence, from 1833 to 
1840. With Preface by HENRY DKUMMOND, Esq. 2 vols. 
8vo, 2U. 

Reference more especially to their Education, and the 
College proposed to be founded near Cirencester. By 


An Appeal in their Behalf. By W. S. GILLV.D.D. Second 
Edition: Plans, Estimates, &c. 8vo, is. 



8vo, 6*. 


Compiled from Official and other authentic Documents, 
with the Dates of Commissions, War Services, and Wounds 
of nearly every Officer. 8vo. Published Quarterly. 

"A well-compiled and most useful work, not merely to 
the profession, but to the public." Athentsum. 


UVO. 20*. 


Published Quarterly, by order (>/ the Lords Commit- 
tionert o/ the Admiralty. 2t. 


Considerably Enlarged and Improved. Published by Order 
of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. 18-17. 5*. 




ublished Monthly. Pubt Ovo, 2s. 6d. 

MB. MURRAY'S LIST OF BOOKS. Por all Classes, 




THE main object of this undertaking is to furnish the 
inhabitants of Great Britain and her Colonies with the 
highest Literature of the day, consisting partly of original 
\Vorks, partly of new editions of popular Publications, at 
the lowest possible price. It is called for in consequence 
of the Acts which have recently passed the British Parlia- 
ment for the protection of the rights of British authors and 
publishers, by the rigid and entire exclusion of foreign 
pirated editions. In order, therefore, that the highly in- 
telligent and educated population of our Colonies may not 
suffer from the withdrawal of their accustomed supplies of 
books, and with a view to obviate the complaint, that a 
check might in consequence be raised to their intellectual 
advancement, Mr. Murray has determined to publish a 

series of attractive and useful works, by approved authors, 
at a rate which shall place them within reach of the means 
not only of the colonists, but also of a large portion of the 
less wealthy classes at home, who will thus benefit by the 
widening of the market for our literature and the "Colo- 
nial Library " will, consequently, be so conducted that it 
may claim to be considered as a " Library for the Empire." 

The series of Works designed to appear in Mr. Murray's 
" Colonial and Home Library," will be selected for their 
acknowledged merit, and will be exclusively such as are 
calculated to please the most extensive circles of readers. 
They will be printed most' carefully, in a superior style, 
and on good paper. 


Nos. 1 and 2. 


" As a book of adventures the most extraordinary one 
which has appeared for a long time past. We are fre- 
quently reminded of Gil Bias." Quarterly Review. 

"There is no taking leave of a book like this: better 
fare we never had it in our power to offer our readers." 

" Borrow's odd, amusing, and instructive work." 
Cambridge Chronicle. 

Nos. 3 to 6. 

"The most perfectly charming book we ever read." 

" One of the most delightful books in the language." 
Quarterly Review. 

" Delightful contributions, full of benevolent feeling, 
and varied and gratifying details of official labours." 
Evangelical Magazine. 

No. 7. 



"One of the most interesting and popular works of the 
present century." Aberdeen Journal. 

" We look upon this to be by far the most welcome of 
the series. Irby and Mangles' interesting Travels was 
almost from the first a sealed book, and never very gene- 
rally known : those who were admitted to its pages, prized 
it highly.' Literary Gazette. 

" The observations of well-informed men of the world 
on the antiquities of Egypt, and the social, moral, and 
religious condition of the people of the East." Glasguw 

No. 8. 

" A book so replete with interest and information as to 
be truly a legend of the United Services of its day." 
United Seraice Magazine. 

" Mr. Murray has conferred a public benefit by selecting 
this narrative for an early Number in his acceptable series. 
The siege itself was one of the most remarkable that ever 
happened in the world since the siege of Troy." Lite- 
rary Gazette. 

No. 9. 


" These Sketches are singularly graphic and interesting. 
The Author rides among the wild people, encamps with 
them, and listens to the strange tales of mighty robbers or 
daring exploits with wild beasts." Cheltenham Chronicle. 

" A new and highly interesting work, for which Mr. 
Alurray would have been entitled to charge two or three 

ineas were its contents spread over a couple of 4to 
"es, as they might easily have been done." Greenuck 

No. 10. 


" A series of charming descriptions ; the style full of 
ease and freshness." Examiner. 

" ' Familiar Letters' by a young and beautiful and witty 
English spinster, whose work will cause a sensation hardly 
inferior to that which attended the bursting of the ' Old 
Man's Bruunen Bubbles.'" Quarterly Review. 

No. 11. 

"We have read nothing in fiction or in history, which 
has so completely rivetted and absorbed our interest as 
this little volume. If it be a fiction, it is worthy we can, 
give no higher praise of De Foe." Quarterly Review. 

" Possesses all the lively interest of a romance, and all 
the external evidences of a truthful narrative. It is a 
singular story indeed, antiquated in dialogue, and terse 
and vigorous in description.'* Yorkshiremun. 

No. 12. 


" Models of what biography ought to be ; embracing all 
the facts in the lives of their respective subjects that can 
be of any interest." Dublin Freeman's Journal. 

"Southey's admirably written lives." Yorkthireman, 

No. 13. 

NEW SOUTH WALES. Described in letters 
written Home. By a LADY. 

" Mrs. Meredith is a pleasant unaffected writer ; and 
the book derives interest from being a lady's view of 
New South Wales." Spectator. 

" A pleasantly written account of one of our most im- 
portant colonies, by a lady who resided there for some 
years, and who, to strong and shrewd observation, adds 
the merit of recording her first impressions with a fidelity 
and simplicity rarely found in this book-making age." 
Newcastle Courant. 

No. 14. 


" The interesting and instructive volume with which 
Mr. Barrow has enriched our biographical literature." 
Edinburgh Review. 

No. 15. 


PEKIN. Translated from the Italian. By FOUTCNATO 

antf Original 2f0rlu in preparation. 




ABERCROMBIE'B (Dr.) Works . . 10 

on the Stomach . 12 

Agricultural Journal . . . . 14 

Amber Witch . . -15 

Austin on Education . . . 11 

German Prose Writers 8 

BABBAGE'S (Chas.) Works . . . 10 

Barrow's Tour in Lombardy . . 6 

Life of Drake . . . 15 
Bell on Expression . . . .10 

Practical Essays . . . 12 

(Dr.) Life of. ... 2 
Bentley's Correspondence . . . 2 
Bertha's Journal . . . . 12 
Bjornstjerna on the Hindoos . . 3 
Blunt's (Kev. J. J.) Works . . 4 
Sorrow's Gypsies of Spain . . 6 

Bible in Spain . 6 & 15 
Brewster's Martyrs of Science . . 2 
British Association Reports . .10 
Brogden's Catholic Safeguards . . 3 

Liturgy and K itual . 3 
Bubbles from Brunnen of Nassau 6 
Burnes' (Sir A.) Travels . . 4 
Burr on Practical Surveying . . 10 
Buttman's Lexilogus & Greek Verbs 9 

Byron's (Lord) Works 

Life and Letters 

CALDWBLL'S Results of Reading . 10 

Campbell's British 1'oets 

Canada, by a Backwoodsman . . 6 

Careme's French Cookery . . 13 

Carmichael's Greek Verbs . . 9 

Carnarvon's Portugal, &c. . . 6 

Clark (Sir James) on Climate , . 12 

Coleridge's Greek Classic Poets . 9 

Colonial and Home Library . .15 

Colquhoun's Moor and Loch . .14 

Conybeare's Sermons . . .3 

Crabbe's Poetical Works . . 8 

Life. By his Son . . 2 

Cunningham's Life of Wilkie . . 2 

DATES and Distances . . .6 

Daubeny on Agricultural Classes . 14 

Davis' Benares . . H 

Dibdin's Naval Songs . . . 8 

Dieffenbach's New Zealand . .5 

Domestic Cookery . . . . 13 

Douglas on Naval Gunnery . . 10 

Drinkwater's Siege of Gibraltar . 15 

Drummond's Agricultural Classes . 14 

Dudley's (Lord) Letters . . . 2 

Dufrenoy on Hot Air . . . 10 

KLDON (Lor.D) Lifoof . . 2 

Elphinstone's History of India . 1 

Exeter's ( Bishop of) Sermons . . 3 

Eyre's Afghanistan . . .4 

FACTS in Various Sciences . .10 

Family Receipt Book . . .13 
Faraday's Chemical Manipulation . 10 

Fanner's Account Hook . . .14 

Farming lor Ladies . . . . 13 

!( atherstonhaugh's America . . G 

Fellows' (Charles) Travels . . 5 

Ferguson on Diseases of Women . 12 

Fullarton on Currencies . . 11 

!: ,U'HICAL (The) Journal . 14 

Giffard's Ionian Islands . . . 6 

Gilly's Peasantry of the Border . 14 
Godley's Canada .... 6 

Gooch on Diseases of Women . .12 

Grant's Nestorian Christians . 4 

Greenhow's Oregon . .6 
Grosvenor's (Lady) Yacht Voyage 6 
Gruner's Frescoes . . . \. 8 

IlAi.ronD'8 Popular Essays . .10 

llallam's England . . . . 1 

Literature of Europe . . 1 


Hamilton's Hindostan . . . 

Asia Minor . 

Aristophanes . . . 
Hand-books for Travellers . . . 
Hawkestone . . . 1 
Hay's Morocco and the Moors . 1 
Hill's Slave Ship .... 

(Lord) Life .... 

(Richard) Correspondence . 
Holland's Psalms . . . . '4 
Houstoun's Texas ... .6 
Hart's Army List . . . . 14 
Hase's Ancient Greeks . .9 
Head's Pampas . . . . . 

Bubbles from Nassau . 6 

Forest Scenes . . . 

Home Tour . .6 
Heber's (Bishop) Sermons . . 3 

Journal in India . 15 

Poetical Works . . 8 

Hymns . . .3 
Heilner's German Grammar . . 9 
IRBY and MANGLES* Travels . . 15 
JAMIESON'S Legends of Saints . 10 

Public Galleries . . 7 
Japan in the Nineteenth Century . 4 
Jesse's Natural History . . .11 

Country Life . . .11 
Jewess (the), a Tale . . . . 10 
Jocelyn's (Lord) China . . .4 
Jones on Wealth . . . .11 
Josiah, History of . . . . 4 
Journal of a Naturalist . . .11 
Jukes's Newfoundland . . . 6 
KINNEAR'S Cairo, Petra, (.Vc. . 5 
Knight's Tour in Normandy . . 6 
LABORDE'S Arabia Petraea . . 3 
Lambert's Needlework, &c. . . 13 
Land Drainage, Subsoil, &c. . . H 
Lappenberg's England . . .1 
Latin Grammar . . . 9 
Letters from Madras . ... 4 

the Baltic . . . 15 
Lewis's Government Dependencies 9 

Romance Language . . 8 

Provincial Glossary . . 7 
Lindsay's Lectures . . .3 
Little Arthur's History of England 12 

Loch's China 4 

Lockhart's Life of Burns . . . 2 

Spanish Ballads . . 8 

History of the late War 1 2 

Long's Essays 10 

Loudon's Gardening for Ladies . 13 

Modern Botany . . .13 

Natural History . . 13 
Lowe's (Sir Hudson) Memoirs . 2 
Lushington's Journey from India . 4 
Lyell's Principles of Geology . .11 

Elements of Geology . .11 

American Tour . . .11 

Life of Bdisarius . . 2 

Court of . . 1 

War of tUe Succession . 1 
Manning On the Church, &c. . 3 
Markham's (Mrs.) England . . 12 

France . .12 
Marlborough Despatches . . 1 
Matthiso's Greek Grammars . . 9 
Maw's Journey down the Maranon (i 
Mayo on the Human Mind . . 15 
Memoirs of Father Ripa . . .15 
Meredith's New South Wales . 15 
Milford's Norway .... 6 
Milmun's Christianity . . . 1 

Gibbon . . . . 1 

Poetical "Works . . 8 


Mihnan's Life of Gibbon . . . 2 
Mitchell's Plays of Aristophanes . 9 
Moorcroft and Trebeck . . .4 
Moore's Life of Byron . . . 2 
Muck Manual for Fanners . . 14 
Muller's Dorians . . . . 18 
Murchison's Geology of Russia . 1 1 
Cheltenham 11 
NAUTICAL (The) Almanack . . 14 
Navy (The) List . . . . 14 
Newbold's Malacca . . 

Nimrod on the Chase, &c. . . 1- ' 
PARIS' Pyrenees . . . ( 

Parnell on Finance . . . . 1 . 
PARRY'S Parliaments . . . 1 ' 
Pashley's Crete ..... 
Peel's (Sir R.) Address to Students IT 
Speeches . 13 

Peile's ^Eschylus . . . . I 
Pennington on the Greek . . f 
Penn's Maxims and Hints . 14 
Phillips' Belemnites . . ..11 

Geology of Yorkshire . .' 
Philosophy in Sport . . .10 
Powell's Latin Grammar . . 9 
Prayer- Book Illuminated . . 3 
Progress of Russia in the East . 1 1 
Progressive Geography . . . 12 

Puss in Boots 12 

QUARTERLY Review . . .14 
RANKK'S Popes of Rome . . 1 
Reeve's Characteristics of Painters 8 

and Taylor's Translations 8 
Rejected (The) Addresses . . 8 
Hide to Florence . . . . fi 
Robertsons' South America . . k 
Robinson's Biblical Researches . 3 

Scripture Geography . 12 
Romilly's (Sir Samuel) Life . . 2 
Ross's (Sir James) Voyage . . 5 
Rundell's Domestic Cookery . 1.3 
Sale's (Lady) Journal . .4 
Scrope on Deer Stalking . . . 14 

Salmon Fishing . .14 
Sentences from the Proverbs . .12 
Sewell's Evidences of Christianity . 3 

Stisted's Italy (J 

Smith's (Miss Elizabeth) Fragments 8 

( Dr. W.) Life ... 2 
Somerset on the Ellipse . . . 10 
Somerville on Science . . .10 
Sopwith's Mining Museum . . 10 
Southey's Book of the Church . . 3 

Cromwell and Bunyan . 15 

Life of Dr. Bell . . 2 
State Papers (The) . . . 1 
Stephens' Central America . . 5 
Sterling's Russia . . . . 6 
Sevens on Pointing Guns . . 10 
Stories from History of England . 12 

the Gospels . .12 
Sydenham's (Lord) Memoirs . . 2 
TAYLOR'S Italy . . . . . 6 

Memoirs . . .2 

Synonyms . . .10 
Twiss's Life of Elclon . .2 
V I:\AIII.KS' Russia . . . . (! 
WATT'S (James) Life . . . . 2 
Wilberforce on Church Courts, c. 3 
Wilkiu's (Sir David; Lifo . , 2 
Wilkinson's Egypt . . . 5 
YVilliums's Homerus . .8 
Wood's Source of the Oxus . . 
Wordsworth's Athens 


Latin (irammrtlCUL- 

Minor Greek' 



A 000713086 7 

University of California 


405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388 

Return this material to the library 

from which it was borrowed.